There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 16:25
Amid all of the chatter at my birthday celebration, my husband expressed his disbelief that we (the three women including my Mother) had the skills to hear what was said on the television program while others were talking. My Mother who possesses a quick wit responded that we listen with our ears and not our mouth. We laughed heartily-at his expense-as I offered to teach him this highly desirable skill for a nominal fee. However, there is a serious side to listening.
We are exposed to so much noise on a daily basis that our sense of hearing (and tolerance) has become desensitized. Sensory overload forces us to choose between what we feel is necessary to enhance our lives, and what we actually require to build our knowledge base. Unfortunately, our choices lead us to believe that we are always in the right. Our preference is to use our mouth as we readily defend our viewpoints. We rarely take the time to listen, and reflect on what was said; because, we are in the habit of forming hasty opinions.
Blogging is one of my favorite ways to stay up to date with the latest trends. It is simply amazing the number of respondents that deviate from the issue at hand. I have often reread the topic in order to try to make sense of the answers that were given. Usually, off-handed reponses provide me with the opportunity to seek clarification. It is at that point, that separation of the minds occur; those who read and comprehended versus those who quickly glanced and missed the intended message.
Our sense of hearing provides for the immediate transmission and storage in our memory center. There is a connection between our sense of hearing and our ability to recognize what is amiss. We are not powerless in the ability to choose what we listen to. If I watch movies that are laced with profanity, then I have started the process of acceptance and desensitization for ungodly words. Eventually, I will defend the right to enhance my conversation with the lesser of the curse words. Fact: What we listen to defines who we are.
Why is listening so important from a spiritual perspective?
1. Listening is a humbling act for the receiver. It gives us the opportunity to open our hearts and minds to “the right perspective of the truth.” In the first chapter of James, we are admonished to “be quick to listen, slow to speak.”
2. Listening empowers us through obedience. We are able to put our thoughts aside and replace an off-handed perspective with God given knowledge.
3. Listening provides us with discernment to recognize truth versus untruth. Praying for guidance while faced with the situation enables the Holy Spirit to lead us and always make the correct choice. God cannot make mistakes.
For those of us who are natural talkers, and use our mouths twice as much in comparison to our ears; we can change. First, we must recognize our need to change. Most importantly, our acceptance of the instruction from the Word of God is mandatory. There are benefits to acquiring the skill of listening. God is able to change our wrong into right. Our way of life which appears right in our sight will be molded to what God considers to be right. Through prayer and conscious effort, our hearing will develop to be intune with the Holy Spirit. It is a wonderful accomplishment to be guided by the “still and small voice.” Sonya Johnson Ruiz