The Last 24 Hours
Occasionally, my Wife and I will have a little “discussion”, which is a fine, Christian way of saying we had an argument. Last night was one such “discussion”. Have you ever tried having a “discussion” with a spouse who was trying to “discuss” without using words? I have to imagine I looked pretty ridiculous — sweeping arm motions, flexing eyebrows, texting my point and pointing to my mouth as I say the words (as if that helps her understand me any better). I even resorted to my Smartphone app that speaks whatever I text….and I used the Hugh Grant voice….how can you lose an argument with an English accent??? (trust me, it’s entirely possible)
Listening. There is nothing passive about listening. In fact, it’s one of the most active ways we can communicate. When you aren’t speaking, then you don’t have to reply immediately to what someone is saying. When you don’t have to reply, you have time….time to….listen. Typically, we have a conversation or argument or discussion, by half listening to the other person, gleaning just enough information to formulate our own response. We fire off a few rounds of sound argument, and then in the time it takes the other person to respond, we reload and prepare to fire as soon as they are done speaking. We are not focusing on the words being said, and the emotions attached to those words, we are simply waiting for the other person to stop talking so that we can start again.
This is true within Washington, D.C., as well as the Church; Between family members and long time friends.Between children and parents, and Husbands and Wives. We have entire segments of the population who have forgotten how to listen; who believe they already know what the “other side” has to say, and they already disagree with it. People who would rather keep talking so they don’t have to listen. Listening is not only vital to communication, it is itself an act of love, honor, humility, and good faith.
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