When people stop listening, nothing is accomplished; where there is a lack of accomplishment, there is a lack of effort, and with no effort made, according to the Bible, you have become lukewarm in your lack of action. So take action and let it be that which you are told.
I occasionally get into banter of sorts during theological discussion, a recent instance being between myself and a fellow Christian. I inquired whether he would be interested to read what I had written in last Tuesday’s issue of the Houstonian. He read the article and began ranting on a carefully crafted point of mine. My response was naturally rebuttal. He decided not to listen, so should I return the favor and not listen to him? The obvious question followed in my mind; do wise words come from a man who does not listen? He may say one coherent thought in a sea of multiple, self-motivated ramblings.
This Christian brother wasn’t giving me the respect I deserved. This was my question to him: Why would he not answer my inquiry? It’s not like I don’t believe the Lord is my Savior and the relationship I have with the Mighty One doesn’t exist (though it may not always be so great). Is it my problem that I don’t know how to clarify my thoughts, or is it his fault for not understanding what I said? It’s neither. It is his fault, as well as mine, for not listening.
People have gotten comfortable with a solid response to a word or phrase as if it is all the response needed. Possibly the purest response when it comes to God is this, “God is good!” However, it is hardly heard in such simple dialogue. The fault is this: we say, “God has shown me his love in this way,” elaborating on our conversion or experience that holds no relevance to the other person because the example has become more important than the basic topic itself. We are fooled into thinking that we have come up with a good response while the person we’re speaking to doesn’t listen to a word we say due to our disrespect for what that person was saying.
It wasn’t until I read James the umpteenth time that I realized I was a hypocrite and a fool. I have placed myself in an imaginary ‘I’m innocent’ mindset that causes me to not listen. I hope to receive knowledge from all people because all people have knowledge to give. The information one receives does not have to be new to them in order to edify their own knowledge. I will let James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, speak through the Bible:
“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
What beautiful guidance! I encourage reading on in this passagebecause it speaks of a dear nature that I have, myself, denied so many times. That nature is freedom, and the nature of freedom is following the Word of God which is developed by listening and obeying what we truly understand to be truly good. If we do not listen, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we understand something about nothing indeed.
In using this gift of listening we must be careful. Who are we to listen to? Are we to listen to the devil? YES! Are we to listen to God? YES! Are we to trust the devil? NO! Are we to trust God? Yes! Listen to everything you can hear and comprehend! Pay attention to what senses you have. God gives His children discernment, wisdom to differentiate between the lies of the devil and the truth of God.
You see, any being can only pour upon another what dwells inside of them, and lies dwell in Satan. The bible says of understanding, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” — (Romans 1:20 NIV)