My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1: 19-20 NIV
Many years ago I worked with a nurse who possessed the skill of listening with silence. We worked with a very challenging population of individuals who attempted to use daily “Sick Call” as an opportunity to leave the facility prior to completing the first 30 days of the program; the fabricated stories that we heard indicated that the person should not be alive and speaking to us if the symptoms described were actually true. I must admit that I had very little tolerance for those who were attempting to use the medical staff to bypass the Phase 1 restriction of the program, no community visits for 30 days. By the end of the day, I was at the point of exhaustion, not from the physical workload, but from my level of annoyance which I expressed verbally throughout the workday.
On this particular day, the medical clinic remained empty because most of the residents were on a community outing; with our backlog of paperwork completed, we enjoyed the opportunity to relax and chat about life. As we were speaking about the frustrations of the job, we spoke of the high-stress level of our positions; however, my colleague began to share his methods for remaining calm under all circumstances. He began to focus on the topic of effective listening as a learned behavior, a skill that he learned from his grandfather who taught him that it is always to the advantage of the recipient to listen with silence and to formulate a logical response based on the information from the speaker, especially in situations that could lead to confrontation. I laughed and expressed that it was easy for him to accomplish this feat because he learned the skill as a child to which he replied, “I will teach you how to listen with silence.”
It has taken two decades-20 years to effectively practice the skill of listening without an emotional response; although I know the concepts and benefits of effective communication, I confess that I still require additional improvement.
When we confess our faults to God, it is then that He is able to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit to help us in changing our wayward behaviors. This morning as I read a Daily Devotional on controlling your emotional responses in spite of the circumstances, I thanked God for answering my prayer to reveal the changes that I need to make in my life; at that point, I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking directly to me. It is not enough for me to study and pray, from a spiritual perspective, I must be an active and willing participant in the Plan of Salvation; my character defects must cease, my character must align with Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 4:32, James 1:19-20, and Mark 12:30-31.
Repentance is the godly sorrow that I must possess as well as remaining steadfast when I am tempted to act outside of the will of God. Yes, it will take dutiful prayer for the strength to be an overcomer; even so, “I can (and will) do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13.
It is when I listen with silence, that I am able to hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit admonishing me to walk on the straight and narrow path.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 NIV
Bible Readings: Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 4:32, James 1:19-20, and Mark 12:30-31.
Prayer for today: Dear God, We confess and repent of our sins, our characters do not reflect that we love and serve you. We continue to hold onto and manifest defects in our character that are displeasing and for this, we ask forgiveness. It is our desire to become more like you and we pray for your Divine Intervention and the strength to change, to obey your commands and your plans for our lives. We thank you for hearing and answering our prayer which we ask in the Worthy Name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019