As a Bible school teacher I taught a class on Christina Ethics. One of the lessons was on “The art of listening.” Yes, that’s what I called it, because even back then, 30+ years ago, it was an art, lost on many. Today I think it’s even more so.
When a married couple sits in the same room, on the same couch, and “text” each other instead of speaking, something is terribly wrong!
When someone posts a picture of their kids, sitting in the living room each holding a phone, doing what kids (adults, also) do on the phone, and calls it “family time,” something has gone wrong!
What has happened to us?
My sister has just had a tour in Peru with some tourist she guided. This is one of the pictures she posted on her blog, taken at a restaurant in one of the mountain villages in Peru.
No WI-fi! Talk to each other! Be silent and listen!
I found this poster in Sarah’s kindergarten class. How wonderful if her generation can learn that art!
The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.
First and foremost is the importance of learning to be silent before the Lord, to learn to listen to his voice. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me,” said Jesus (John 10:27).
Listening and Doing
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:19-22)
In the Book of Proverbs you can find good advice on this subject. Here are a few gold nuggets:
To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame. (18:13)
The way of fools seems right to them,
but the wise listen to advice. (12:15)
Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise. (19:20)
Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
pay attention and gain understanding. (4:1)
A promise God gave to the Israelites:
“Love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (Deuteronomy 30:20).
To listen to each other is good advice, but to listen you have to be silent.
The best advice we can listen to, is to be silent before God and listen to His voice.
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
May God help us to be good listeners!