He who answers before listening– that is his folly and his shame. Proverbs 18:13 (NIV)
Listening well, that is not my strong suit. Why is that? I think you know why. Yes, I know why. But, do you know why? Yes, I know why. But, it’s hard to admit. What’s hard to admit? It’s hard to admit that I am proud. How so? Somewhere, down deep inside me I have this feeling that I don’t need to listen. I have the false belief that I already know the answer. I have this assumption that I have all I need. I know it all. I am always right. I cannot gain anything by listening to someone else. Do you really believe that? Looking at those words, I can’t believe that even a part of me believes them. It is so proud. It is so foolish. It is simply idiotic. Yes, it is. But, what would explain my caring far more about what I might say next than to what someone might have to say to me. This is not a small problem. This is not a minor flaw. This is a big deal. This is a dangerous mindset. How so? Why is that?
If you can’t listen well to others how well do you suppose you can listen to me? Before you answer, think about what I have said to you. You are telling me that how well I listen to others will help me gauge how well I listen to you. Yes, I am. Why do you suppose that is? Whatever hinders my ability to listen to others will also hinder my ability to listen to you. That’s right. What else? I’m not sure. What else is there? How often have I tried to speak to you through the voice of others? Oh, I see. I get it. Do you? Well, I should I say that I understand your question. I have often failed to listen to what you were saying to me through the voice of others. How so? You have tried to give me warnings through the voice of others that I have failed to heed. You have tried to give me direction through the voice of others that I have failed to follow. You have tried to give me wisdom and knowledge and understanding through the voice of others that I have failed to receive. Yes, you have missed my voice as I have tried to speak to you. You have not listened well.
Do you want to change? Do you want to become a listener? Yes, I do want to change. Yes, I will become a listener. Why is that? I want to know your will and walk in your ways. I want to do what is pleasing in your sight. I want to live the life that you have called me to live. So, you will listen attentively to me? You will make it a habit to be listening well? Yes, I will. Here I am now, listening to you. Yes, you are. That is very good.
Lord, I have not listened well. I have not payed attention to your voice speaking to me. I have not met with you in your word to hear what you have to say to me. I have been more interested in speaking than listening. No more, I will listen attentively to you. Amen
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