Listen Up!

I had a conversation the other day with someone I’ve known for many years. She’s been keeping herself busy with her newly remodeled bathroom, a hefty project she undertook to take her mind off things. Not being able to see many of her friends and family during the pandemic has been particularly tough on her. She also mentioned that she’s started to date again. Her two-year relationship ended a year ago, and she’s trying not to make the same mistakes twice. Hopeful and more aware, she said to me, “I have promised myself that the next relationship I’m in, I’ll do more listening than talking.”

James 1:19-24 The Message (MSG) tells us, Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.”

God gives us specific instructions in this passage. It’s the good stuff we need to digest for the significant relationship we hope to have and make last. Heavenly Father tells us to lead with our ears, to listen first, and then use a wise economy of words second. Many of us have failed to do this and have paid a hefty price in our relationships. You can’t be an effective communicator if you lack the patience to be a good listener. Many of us are not attentive in this area, and because we haven’t been good listeners, some of us have left an impression of arrogance and stubbornness instead of humility and compassion. We can change this, and we should.

In today’s world, often the primary objective is to make sure your point comes across and that you are heard loud and clear. It’s not hard to see why many believe that listening to others has become a lost art. Listening is more than just hearing; it’s being attentive to details and taking in what is being communicated in a way that is thoughtful, respectful, and appreciative of points of views that are different than your own. Most of us have either experienced or witnessed the frustration of trying to convey something that is important to us, and the person we’re speaking to isn’t receiving what we’re communicating. Instead, they may talk over you, don’t allow you to finish your sentences, become angry or totally shut down and refuse to further communicate. This kind of temperament isn’t sustainable in a relationship.

Psalm 25:9(NLT) says, “He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way.” God will always lead those who desire to be led. It takes humility to please Him and to allow our lives to be guided by His nature. Learning the patience, compassion, and thoughtfulness to become a good listener is required for marital preparation and becoming the kind of spouse that God desires. The practice of listening is crucial to maintaining our relationship with Heavenly Father, and it is very important for maintaining our relationships with our future spouses. We must be committed hearers and doers of the Word of God. Our humility to listen to His instruction and follow the example of Christ will help us to be attentive and compassionate listeners in our marital relationships. ■

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright ©1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Listen Up!”, written for Copyright©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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