Our Daily Bread—On Listening


Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. —Ecclesiastes 5:2

Everything we do is before God. Whether they are thoughts or words, intentions or actions, God is our witness. He not only knows our thoughts and words, he also listens to them … carefully.

Julie Link, in today’s Our Daily Bread, asserted the importance of listening, to God, to others, and to yourself. Of course, listening to yourself is not the same as the other two, which is paying attention to their ideas, message, and instruction, but in the sense of anticipating and screening what will come out of your mouth. Thus, Ecclesiastes 5:2.

Mrs. Link made one particularly interesting point: “Whenever we speak out of fear, anger, ignorance, or pride—even if what we say is true—those who listen will hear more than our words.” Those are the four arrows that kill communication. Very few people are so dense that they can’t sense the dynamics behind your words, and if they hear any of those four things they will dismiss your words as self-serving, or just plain wacko.

We’ve all known “Christians” who were not very nice people. Whether from ignorance, or insensitivity, they seem to have no concept of their impact on others, or if they do, they just don’t care. I say, “they,” but as Apostle Paul said, “I’m the chief of sinners.” I used to think I came across as a “nice guy,” but God had to use family and friends to open my eyes to my effect on them. There was no easy way they could break the truth to me that I wasn’t as nice as I wanted to believe, and I still feel bad about placing them in that uncomfortable position. Though I listened to them, asked God’s, and their, forgiveness, and repented of that sin, I have a long way to go before God gives me mastery over it. At least by God’s help, through my family and friends, I’m headed in the right direction.

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