Listen First….Then Speak

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion…..(Proverbs 18:2).
I am quick to offer my opinion first without properly listening. Mostly because I think I have the right solution to fix the problems of the individual before me. What God is showing me though, is that my good advice has really just been self-righteousness. People won’t listen to your good advice if you first don’t care for them as a person and listen to their pain.
Now, I am much more intentional to listen first, express compassion and offer advice only if the Lord prompts me to. Even then, God is challenging me to offer my advice with humility and grace. Before I would come in like a bull offering my advice with the hopes that person would hear what I have to say and apply it immediately to their situation. If they didn’t agree with me, I’d try to continue to convince them that what they needed to do was what I was telling them. As you can imagine this doesn’t bring people closer to you, but it actually pushes them away.
I have to constantly tell myself, “Heather, listen, really listen to what this person is saying.” The way my mind works is that I’m constantly running from one task to the next in my mind. I have to intentionally remind myself to listen well and not move quickly away from that person and onto my next thing.
We never find that Jesus was in a hurry. I’m certain that Jesus was an excellent listener as He invited the lame, sick and forgotten to be with Him in His presence. Can I be really honest? I want to be like Jesus in this way, but I recognize in order for me to do so I must slow down. Slow down my heart and mind to be fully present with people. Listen, simply for the purpose of caring for that person, not wondering when they are finally going to stop talking so I can talk about my problems.
As God renovates our hearts, His character starts to grow in us. I want that kind of character that sees other people as more important than myself. I want a heart that doesn’t try to fix people but simply desires to care for them. Just like Jesus would.
Lord, you know how I’ve been, but you are changing me. I feel it. I see it. Help me to walk forward in this new woman you are creating. I don’t want to walk in the bondage of the old life. I want to walk forward in my newness in Christ. Let this be true, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

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