Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Am I Listening?

(photo from
Am I listening? Do I hear God when He speaks to me? Do I hear you when you speak to me? Or do your words flutter past my ears as if you’re speaking a foreign language? More than that, do I miss what your heart is saying despite your words?

‘They say’ we hear what we want to hear. In the Bible, Timothy even mentions this when he refers to our ‘itching ears’.

In 2 Timothy 4:2-4 we read: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (KJV)

Bringing this to a personal, relationship level between us and those we love or choose to interact with daily – how much of what they’re saying to us do we miss? Do they perhaps think they’re communicating one thing, while we’re receiving something else completely?

All sorts of internet memes are created to joke about what a woman’s words really mean; that sometimes when she responds ‘fine’ to the question ‘how are you?’ it’s simply a mask for her PMS-self. But, let’s face it, we’ve all responded with that answer, whether we’re male or female; and we haven’t always been honest. We may have thought the person asking the question really didn’t care how we’re doing, but simply using the question as a greeting. We may have wanted to hide how we feel because we didn’t trust the asker. We didn’t think we had time for a conversation, or thought they didn’t. Perhaps we thought the person asking couldn’t handle the truth in our honest response and we’d make them uncomfortable. There are plenty of reasons why we might have withheld the truth. But most of these reasons include ‘we thought’. What if [gasp!] we’re wrong?

Is this why we don’t share the gospel as freely as we believe we should? Is our thinking getting in the way of our sharing? Not that we shouldn’t think, God gave us phenomenal brains for good reason. But, some things come more naturally than others. Like breathing. When we take time to be conscious of our own breathing, beautiful things can happen, like relaxation or even exhilaration. But fortunately, we don’t have to ponder breathing in order to fill our lungs as needed. We just do it.

What if we could share the gospel of Jesus Christ like that?

True; we want to know our audience. But even more profound; we need to LOVE our audience. God already knows them and prepares just the right words for us to speak to their hearts…if we’re listening for them.

At least ten times the scriptures share this message, “Then Jesus said, whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.” –Mark 4:9 (NIV)

Listening and speaking; two awesome tools to share God’s love – are we using either one of them?

Make time to love through communication today, even if you don’t use words.

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