Monday, November 4, 2013

How to Love : Listen Without Interrupting

In our house, disagreements and lively debates are filled with one common phrase: "Let me finish...don't interrupt me!!!" 

Everyone wants their voice to be heard. Everyone feels their reasoning needs to be heard. 

In the Bible, the book of Proverbs 18 is full of wise words about listening to each other. 
It starts by saying in verse 1 and 2:

An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
    and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding
    but delight in airing their own opinions.

In other words, an unfriendly fool has to have their voice heard and will not listen to anyone or anything else. It goes on to say that fools dig themselves into more and more problems when they don't stop talking long enough to listen.

In verse 10, we are given hope with this gem of a verse:

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
    the righteous run to it and are safe.

This is one of my favorite verses in the bible! No matter where we find ourselves in life we can run to our Lord and be saved from every calamity we find ourselves in! This encourages me so much and I need reminded of this often.

Back to the loving by listening topic, Proverbs 18 goes on to say in verse 15:

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
    for the ears of the wise seek it out.

This means that if we are learning to be wise, we will learn to the important skill of listening to each other. Whether it be about a topic that we want to hear about or not, whether it be difficult or easy to hear ~ listen. Stop in your tracks, open your mind. Be wise. Listen. 

Verse 21 wraps up the listening lesson with:

The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Everyone occasionally says things they don't mean, but often we need reminded that our words have power. I can remember words said to me many years ago that still today sting in my heart. Of course I have forgiven the person saying the harmful words, but it is just an example of how a moment of irrational conversation can cause a person to never forget what has been said to them.

One of the ways we can love each other is to listen to each other without interrupting. It is really really hard sometimes to take the time to hear something that either has been said before or is not comfortable to hear. We can show love by giving our undivided attention to those that we are in a conversation with. 

Lord, help us to open our hearts and minds to show love in our daily conversations by listening without interrupting. Give us wisdom to know when to be quiet and give us soft words to communicate this love. Amen.