Tuesday August 9, 2011
There is a skill in life that we all take for granted. We spend no time on learning this skill in school or college and I dare say that only a few of you have had a course in this skill. During our waking hours we use this skill 40% of the time and yet we are trained the least. Have you guessed what this skill is? It is the first skill that we used as an infant and it will be the last skill we will use before we die. We have more resources to develop this skill on our body than any other skill we will ever use. Have you guessed this skill yet? I stopped at this point in writing and asked my son if he could guess it and he said breathing. It is a good guess and it could be the answer, but it wasn’t the answer I was looking for. It is listening. An infant hears the doctor and the nurse and the mother when they come out of the womb. We have two ears and two eyes for listening to content and for body language. We listen the most throughout the day, but we are taught it the least. Very few of you have ever had a class or seminar on developing your listening skills.
I dare say that in conversations within the home among family members, 80+% of conflicts in the home would never take place if family members took the time to truly listen and hear what others were saying. Solomon in Proverbs saw the importance of listening when he said, “To answer before listening—that is folly and shame.” (Proverbs 18:13). If only we could heed his advise and take the time to listen fully to what someone is saying before jumping to conclusions and seeming like a fool because we didn’t fully understand what someone was saying. James says, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” (James 1:19) James says that if we would take the time to truly listen before we are slow to speak, we would be able to control our anger, something to ponder for those of us who have a tendency to become angry. In fact in the bible, the words “to listen” or “to hear” are the most widely used words in the Old and New Testaments (500+ times in both Testaments).
I guess God gave us to ears and one mouth because He knew that we needed to use our ears much more than we would need to use our mouth.. On this journey, sometimes it is very helpful to be quiet and begin to listen to the sights and sounds around us.