A simple question, “what if people find it increasingly difficult in relationships or find relationships at risk because people find it increasingly challenging to listen well?” An even bigger consideration is “What if nations find an increasing risk because people don’t listen well?”
A world with so much noise, many words become a desert of noise if we don’t know how to listen well. The scripture talks about a time when the “word of the Lord was rare”, but I wonder if our God, who we say is never silent, God is ever speaking, when the word became rare, the real issue was people did not know how to listen? A different perspective? Today with we live in a world where we have a so many voices saying ‘God says’, yet are we today in a day of the word of God being rare again, You might say how can you think that way with so much “Christian” radio, God TV, Podcasts and books by the 1000’s, the challenge is that so much is conflicting and yet it is all attributed to God. So much is predicted and never comes to pass, no one stands up and says “I’m sorry”, e.g. recent blood moon reporting, could it be we are in a desert that requires people to listen well to actually hear beyond and hear God speaking.
Trained listeners inform us that the warning signs happen when we cannot process communication clearly and have a sense of accuracy of word and sense of proportion of what is spoken. How many times have you been part of or witnessed a conversation escalating out of control when a good proportion of what is said and how it is said is being lost?
We train children to keep safe by paying attention to strangers and their surroundings, it is a training in being mindful, mindful of all that is going on around.
Clearly as we read of Jesus and pay attention to his actions, words etc we find him paying great attention to people and the places he was in, it is often said of him “seeing this he said”, he was mindful and listened well.
Perceiving people, identifying opportunities, seeing risk, all are part of listening well. In a world with its growing pressures we are to be a people who listen well to our neighbourhoods and friends, to our cities and countries so we can be the incarnation of God in these environments.
When we don’t listen well we will not perceive reality, the scriptures encourage us to “watch what you hear or listen to” along with “watch how you hear”. We are to be those who belong to a community that listen well. A community that reconciles will be a community that have listened well to bring about peace. We are to be “peace makers” not peace keepers, those who can listen well to make the peace. It means we have to be honest and deal with the issues not run from them, or be agreeable just to agree, we listen well to bring peace which is agreement.
Long term advance will be undermined if we do not pay attention to short term listening, listening well now will help for long term advancement.
Listening well will bring peace, a calmness we can experience, a value of identity. Being listened to brings a sense of worth to those who speak, it is honouring and investing value. Listening well will be the only way of strengthening interpersonal trust, its such a need within our world.
Perhaps the community of God where you are can cultivate listening well to the streets and world around as a restorative action, becoming those who encourage listening. Rather than those who hand out blame or look for fault or at work are just plain orphan in reacting with defensive actions, listen well.
Let us listen and incarnate God and in our listening empower therefore listening will enable you to thrive in our world, enabling our world to thrive. God not only speaks but listens to the cries and sound of our world…