Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 18:13
To answer before listening that is folly and shame.
Charles Swindoll tells an interesting story in his book Stress Fractures. He found himself overwhelmed by numerous commitments and the need to deal with them. He wrote: “I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day. Before long, things around our home started reflecting the pattern of my hurry-up style. It was becoming unbearable. I distinctly remember after supper one evening, the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly,’ Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin’ and I’ll tell you really fast.’ Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered, ’Honey, you can tell me — and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.’ I’ll never forget her answer: ’Then listen slowly.’ Oftentimes our desire to speak and be heard overwhelms our need to listen. But as important as it is to get our points across, no relationship can thrive without a readiness to listen. Every relationship is a two-way street, and communication is never complete without a listener. So be more willing to listen than to speak.
It is not unusual to find women complaining that their husbands do not listen to them, or children complaining that their parents do not listen. We assume we know and are in touch with the feelings of those around us, but it takes listening to really know. We can bridge the communication gap in our homes by taking time to listen. Strive to be a little more enthusiastic about hearing those around you communicate their feelings and opinions, without the urge to speak or shut them up.
We can never understand the expectations, fears, hurts and desires of those we love except we take time to really listen to them. Take out time to listen to your wife or husband, as a matter of importance. Listen to your children. Take genuine interest in the details of their affairs. Ask them questions, and get them to speak, while you patiently listen. Those who take time to listen build better relationships; listening makes those around you feel better appreciated and valued. You will excel in your relationships, in Jesus’ name.
Today, make a conscious effort to listen. Be less eager to speak. Your relationships will be the better for it.
Memorize & Meditate:
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19 (NIV)
I make a commitment today to be a good and patient listener. I am quick to listen, and slow to speak, in Jesus’ name.