Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saturday Scriptures # 27 Listening Before Speaking


Post this at all the intersections, dear friends. Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.  
James 1:19 (The Message)

How often do you find yourself speaking first, reacting with some type of emotional response second and then either not bothering to listen at all or listening only as a last resort? If you are like me, this order of communication can happen sometimes. 

I believe that, as humans, we all have a desire to be heard by those around us. Whether we are communicating with co-workers, family, friends or acquaintances, we all have the desire to make our thoughts and feelings known to others. But, I also know how easy it is to have miscommunication happen during a conversation. I know that there are times when someone is speaking, rather than my listening carefully to what they are saying, I am already formulating my response. My full attention is not being given to the speaker. And, often, my emotions can get in the way and cloud my ability to really "hear" what someone is actually saying. That means I might take offense when no offense is meant. I might become angry, even though the speaker is not trying to anger me. I might "hear" something, because of my emotional response, that was not meant to be interpreted in a negative way. Listening first, rather than last, is very important according to today's scripture.

As I think about this scripture from James, however, I not only think about human communications that I take part in, but also my communication with God. And I pause to ask myself some questions:

  • How often during my prayer time do I sit quietly to listen for God's voice rather than launching into my usual litany of requests and petitions?
  • And when I hear the voice of God speaking to me, how often do I act on what I hear? 
If you read on in this first chapter of James, the scriptures are quite clear on these points.

"Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!"

These words are important food for thought for me as I go forward in the days to come. I'm definitely posting these words at all of the intersections of my life. How about you? 



Karen said...

Wow. I am convicted, especially in my prayer life. I'm so glad you addressed this issue today. Food for thought for sure Debbie. How many times I react based on emotions. .. I will endeavor to listen, both to God and others, to hear what is really being said.

Debbie Styles Life said...

I feel the same way, Karen. This is definitely something I need to work on.

Anonymous said...

I find sometimes that if I am in a hurry, or if I'm too busy, or feeling stressed, then I don't listen as well As I should to what is actually being said! Sometimes this can lead to misunderstandings and bad communication leading to further problems! This has definately given me something to think about, so thanks Debbie for this post. I really enjoy Saturday Scriptures and always gain some spiritual nourishment from them for the week ahead!

Debbie Styles Life said...

Thanks, Tania. Yes, definitely getting in a hurry can cause me not to listen well. I'm so glad that the Saturday Scriptures are helpful to you. Have a great week!

Sharon said...

I look forward each week to opening your blog and reading your Saturday post. I find myself thinking about your words all week.