James 1:19: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (NIV).
Just as we learned earlier this week how vital it is to our children’s emotional wellbeing to be heard, it is also extremely important that we put into practice this concept with our spouses, friends, and coworkers.
How many arguments would be avoided if instead of half listening to our loved ones concerns while formulating the perfect response in our heads, we just sat back and really heard what was being said, underneath the words, listening to the heart of the person who is speaking?
I know that I am guilty of replying with, “I’m fine,” when asked how I am doing when in actuality that is the furthest from the truth. Sometimes all someone wants to hear is, “No, really, how are you doing?” Then maybe they would feel free to share what is really on their heart to a trusted friend, without the risk of being judged, lectured, or criticized.
There is always time for further discussions and opportunities to express your opinion if asked. I can almost 100% guarantee that something said in anger or frustration, or labeled as “constructive criticism” will be remembered by the receiver long after you have forgotten the words that escaped from your mouth. As Joyce Meyer says, “Don’t judge others. God likes variety and we’ve all got our own little brand of ‘strangeness.'”
For today, instead of trying to fix things, lecture, get your point across, or make sure someone knows how you really feel about their situation, think about just listening to not only what is being said, but to the heart of the person who is doing the talking. You just might be surprised what you discover about them, and ultimately, also, about yourself.