Thursday, February 21, 2019

Be Quick to Listen

Chuckle: "These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter. I go somewhere to get something and then wonder what I'm here after."
Quote: “The beginning of wisdom is silence. The second step is listening.” --Unknown source

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (James 1:19-20 NIV).
Although the two words are often used interchangeably, there is a great deal of difference between hearing and listening. The dictionary defines hearing as "the act of receiving sound through the ears." To listen is "to pay attention to someone in order to hear." As I recall from my physiology classes, hearing is the involuntary function of turning sound waves into electrical impulses which are received and interpreted in our brains. Briefly, here's how it works.
Sound waves travel through the ear (auditory) canal and cause the eardrum to vibrate. The vibrations are then transferred to the cochlea through a series of three small bones attached to the eardrum. These tiny bones are called the incus, malleus, and stapes. Because of their shapes, they are sometimes called hammer, anvil, and stirrup. The cochlea turns the vibrations into electrical impulses which are transmitted to the brain via the auditory nerve. The brain is trained to interpret these impulses. Assuming healthy ears, hearing occurs whether we want it to or not and requires no effort from us.
Listening, on the other hand, implies intent -- to pay attention. To listen, we intentionally focus our attention on the person speaking and make an effort not only to hear what he or she is saying, but to appreciate, and understand what is being said. Listening requires effort and a genuine interest in the person who is speaking as well as his or her words.
When we listen intently to a person, we are saying: "You are a person of value whom I love and respect and what you have to say is important to me." Each of us receives great satisfaction from knowing we are speaking to someone who not only hears us but listens to us attentively.
Here is a good example of the difference between hearing and listening. It is the last play of the fourth quarter and your favorite team is lined up on the two yard line about to score the winning touchdown. And at that precise instant, your wife calls out, "honey, would you please take out the garbage." You will hear her words but they won't register because you aren't listening -- your attention is elsewhere. Your lack of response can easily be interpreted that you are intentionally ignoring your wife and refusing to listen to her. Not Good!!
Every person deserves to have us listen to him or her. This is especially true among fellow believers. As we are "quick to listen," our understanding of each other will deepen, our fellowship will become warmer, our appreciation for one another will increase, and our love for each other will grow.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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