August 13, 2008

Did You Hear Something?

I'm not sure we're very good at listening. I know I struggle with it at times as there are so many things going on around me that I fail to really listen because I get distracted by this or that. And then I know there are other times when, because of one thing or another, I don't really want to listen because I might not like what I hear or because it doesn't quite fit into what I'm thinking or want to believe.

We like to hear things that make us feel good or prove our point or show that we were in the right and someone else was clearly in the wrong. I think there are times when we get so upset or have been so badly hurt that we only hear what we want to, regardless of what is actually being said. If only we would stop and really listen to what is being said or not said. I find it almost humorous at how badly our ability to listen becomes when we have already determined what we want to hear because of pain or anger. When I stop and think about it, I wonder how many things I have missed that have been said to me (if I'm honest, probably things I needed to hear) because I had decided I would only hear what I wanted to. I guess James really knows what he's talking about when he says that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Who would have thought that really listening to what someone says might actually make a difference?