09/27/21 Speaking without Listening

READING: Proverbs 17-19, 2 Corinthians 9-10

Some years ago, I took a course on pastoral counseling. One of our assignments was to write a verbatim script of how we would counsel someone dealing with a particular problem; that is, we were to respond to a case study the professor provided. I thought a lot about my response and wrote what I thought would be acceptable. Frankly, I probably thought it might even impress the professor. 

Not so. She read my response, came to my seat during a break, and kindly said, “My primary concern is that it seems like you had answers before you heard the questions. It’s right to give direction from a biblical perspective, but you don’t seem to have first listened.” That conversation happened decades ago, but I still remember it when I catch myself answering without hearing, talking without listening, and directing without understanding.

Here’s the way the writer of Proverbs put it: “The one who gives an answer before he listens—this is foolishness and disgrace for him” (Prov 18:13). Again, we believers must give biblical guidance when necessary, but we also reveal a piece of our heart when we don’t listen to others. To speak without listening is to demean the value of others while also implying that our opinion and words are most important.  

PRAYER: “Father, give me listening ears as I minister to others today.”  

DAILY ACTION STEP:  Listen well today. 

TOMORROW’S READING: Proverbs 20-22, 2 Corinthians 11

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