Recently I am learning the importance of listening. As a teacher, I am constantly reminding my students to “listen up” or “pay close attention.” There are times, however, when I am guilty of being the one who’s not listening. Sometimes I make them stop before even hearing what they were going to say.
Proverbs 18:13 warns us that, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” I need to be careful not to hush one of the children when I need to take the time to listen to them. I need to be careful to not make a rash judgment about one of them. Also, I need to be careful not to ignore what they are trying to say. James admonishes, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” It could be that they have noticed something I haven’t, or there may be something I have overlooked. There may be a reasonable explanation for what just happened…but I need to listen.
As their “counselor,” I need to be ready to listen, especially before I speak. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
I think this is a reminder for us all. We need to be listeners first. Let’s give others the benefit of the doubt.