He who answers before listening– that is his folly and his shame. Proverbs 18:13 (NIV)
Listen Carefully, Speak Wisely
That is exactly what I want to do. What do you want to do? I want to be able to listen carefully and speak wisely. It is good that you have linked those two thoughts together. Why is that? Those thoughts are intertwined. Those two ideas are inseparable. How so? You will never be able to speak wisely without learning to listen carefully. Do you know why that is? No, I don’t think so. Maybe I do, but I’m not sure. Take a guess. Not listening is a sure sign of pride. Not listening conveys the attitude that I have much to offer and no need to receive. It is the attitude of a “know it all”. A poor listener cuts themselves off from learning from others. A poor listener will never have the benefit of other’s insight. A poor listener will live forever with their blind spots that they can’t see by themselves. Why is that? It is easy to recognize a poor listener. A poor listener sends out signals that shout, “Don’t bother with me, because I won’t listen to you.” I don’t want to be that person. That’s good.
How will you become a good listener? Where you will start? What will you do? I will start with you. It is the desire of my heart to hear from you. I want to listen to every word that you have to say to me. There is no one I want to hear from more than you. That’s good. So, I will withdraw from the noise and busyness of life. I will go to a quiet place. I will slow down and make myself attentive to you. I will separate myself from the swirl of activity all around me. Why will that be necessary? I am hard of hearing. Listening to you does not come naturally to me. No, it does not. Quieting myself before you will take all the strength that you will give to me. Why is that? Activity and busyness is my norm. Racing here and there and everywhere is my strength. It’s not really a strength. I know. It’s a huge weakness. But there is one thing I know for certain. What’s that? You will speak to me as I meet with you. You will speak to me as I meet with you in your word, and in prayer, and in worship. Yes, I will.
What will happen to you as you listen attentively to me? You will give me wise words to speak as I listen attentively to you. Yes, I will. What else? You will strengthen and develop my ability to listen to others as I keep on listening to you. Yes, I will. What else? As I listen to others, I will be more able to minister to them. You will give me wise and caring and loving words to speak that will bring life and healing to others. Yes, I will. Keep on listening to me. Yes Lord, I will. That will be very good.
Lord, I know I have pridefully spoken quickly without listening carefully. I have often spoken unhelpful and unhealthy words I have deeply regretted. Help me to listen attentively to you. Help me to speak wise words that will build up and encourage others. Amen
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