Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. James 1:19
A few months ago I was sitting in my little Ninja Turtle, Leonardo – the name I affectionately gave my ’96 Nissan Sentra since it looks like a blue turtle! My grandpa sold it told me for just $500 dollars, a good get back on your feet car that is heavy on the miles but awesome on gas and reliability. For those of you who know about cars in the slightest bit, you know that, sometimes, older cars have some kind of weird quirk you need to initiate in order to start it.
Well, I never listened to the explanation behind my car’s weird start-up quirk. I’ll be honest; I was a bit upset that I couldn’t get a vehicle that I felt suited me more, so I was going through the motions.
I’d never started the car up so imagine my surprise when about a week later, I went to start the car up and it just sputtered. I sat there, perplexed, looking at the steering wheel praying nothing had happened to the car. I tried starting it again. Sputter, sputter, and just silence.
Well, my grandpa came down that evening to visit and I sat him down to tell him something had happened to the car. After explaining the symptoms, he looked at me crazily and asked, “You don’t remember me telling you that you have to pump the gas a few times to start it?”
Let me tell you, I sat there with that look on my face like dude…all it took was me listening.
Getting To The Point
If we’re all being honest, we all have the ability to not listen. To seriously tune out, only for us to come back later and make ourselves look horrible when we have to ask an already explained question or when we accuse someone of something, only for them to correct us by saying, “You don’t remember me telling you this, we had a whole discussion a few weeks ago…”
In relationships, we oftentimes neglect the other person by refusing to stop and focus our attention on what our partner, friend, or family member is trying to tell us. Instead, we make them feel small or insignificant with our lackadaisical approach. We say things like, “C’mon, it’s not that serious” or “That’s crazy, how can you even feel that way, you never told me that.”
Our approach is rooted in the fact that we’ve failed at really trying to understand those we care about. To be frank, it shows that you’re not invested in listening and understanding where the other person is coming from.
When we are locked in serious discussions and conflict, we need to truly understand how our approach can affect the person. You need to stop and truly listen. Engage with the person and be sure to ask questions, even paraphrase so that you can truly understand where the other person is coming from. You should be slow in the anger department and listen, being slow to speak. Coming at someone from a loving place and asking the right question can open the emotional floodgates, allowing you to truly understand how the other person feels.
Listening is killing self and allowing someone else to be the center of attention for once. It’s a detailed way of saying, “I love you so much and I’m willing to express how important you are.”
Discussion and Reflection
A great food for thought moment is to understand, when a person says, “You’re not listening to me,” they truly feel this way. So the question is, what can you do to proactively become a better listener? What is a habit that you can change that will allow you to be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen? How often are you accused of not listening?
Father, thank you for always being a listening ear to lean on. You’re there to listen, no matter how wrong or irrational I’m being. With tears in my eyes and sobs from my mouth, you still provided the greatest support. I want that, Father. I want to learn how to be more like you, when it comes to listening. Counsel me, teach me, guide me; Father, whatever it may be. I just pray that you help me to become a better listener; whether it’s in relationships or with people I’ve just met. They deserve the best from me and I welcome your teaching to do just that. I pray, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Awesome thanks to the Moments with You Couples Devotional for the inspiration.