We are in such a talky time. We talk to be heard. We talk to gain power. We talk to defend our positions. We talk to defend God. We talk to process our own pain. We talk with voices. We talk with pens. We talk with keyboards.
Jesus said: I can’t do a solitary thing on my own; I listen, then I decide. (John 5:30* The Message.)
Jesus, who already knew the answers, made listening the priority.
Jesus, who only had a short time to save the world, made listening the priority.
Jesus, who could have talked anyone into anything, made listening the priority.
I make a living talking, but I’m learning – more than any other thing right now – that listening is the better part.
Talking has often gotten me in trouble. Listening never has.
Listening is teaching me more about God than I’ve ever known, and it’s teaching me so much more about people. Listening to people AND THEN to God about what I’ve heard is one of my newest and fondest spiritual practices.
I love what I’m discovering as I listen between the lines to the people I love without simultaneously preparing my response.
I am learning about fears and joy and passion and pain.
I am learning about dreams and hurts and doubts and delights.
My ears are turning my heart so soft.
Last night, after an exasperating round of stubbornness with our puppy, I heard Cliff call her “My little pudding pop.” And that made me fall in love with him all over again. Four words reminded me of the way Cliff loves his people and his puppy. Four words showed me parts of his heart that not everyone else can see. Words carry so much weight, but they are meaningless without someone to listen.
Listening is beautiful and it is a weapon in the war against hatred and indifference.
May we grow ever more passionate about hearing His voice more clearly than all the other noise, and hearing each other with Spirit-fueled grace.
*Sheesh, the gospel of John is working me over right now. I started with the Johanine letters they show so much of John’s heart for people. Now I’m reading his gospel through the lens of what I learned in his letters and – holy Moses! – this is beautiful. Just wanted to share that down here in the footnotes for anyone who might be looking for a reading plan. Also wanted to share it because most of the words you’ll see or hear from me for the foreseeable future are plagiarized from the apostle John.