Whenever people share political or social commentaries on Facebook, I am reminded of an experience I had as a confirmation small group leader. In one particular group, we had two students who would dominate every conversation. It was very frustrating.
One week, I decided to focus on listening rather than the lesson. Interestingly, the students who felt the least heard were the two students who talked the most. It made sense, when a person speaks they need someone else to confirm that their thought was heard. This rarely happened in our group.
When the students who did not speak got the opportunity, they began with their own thoughts. Since they never acknowledged the dominant speaker, the dominant speakers felt unheard. The quieter people fought so hard to speak, they never thought to reference anyone but themselves. When we only focus on speaking, no one listens.
This past week, the most intelligent commentary I read regarding the national anthem came from a football player. New England Patriots defensive lineman, Chris Long, said, “I’m just going to listen to my peers because I respect those guys, and I can’t put myself in their shoes.” He didn’t completely agree with their stance, but he acknowledged the validity and necessity of listening. It’s critical to maintaining a team, a community, and a nation.
This morning, I discovered something in scripture I’ve always missed. In Luke, Jesus says, “…Those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they have will be taken away.” It’s a really difficult saying.
I’ve always associated this saying with wealth. However, Jesus actually begins the statement with, “Pay attention to how you listen…” If we do not listen, even what little understanding we possess will be taken away. Not by God’s doing, but by our own. People who listen tend to understand each other better. And we live in a world desperate for ears. I invite you today to practice your faith by listening. (Luke 8:16-18)
Please consider sharing this with others who may need to hear a word of hope. Thank you.