James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak . . .
I went to get my haircut the other day. As I sat down in the chair the lady asked me the typical introductory questions about how I was doing and what I going to do for the weekend. Before I could give an answer she proceeded to tell me everything she was doing for the weekend and all the things going on in her life. I’m pretty sure she did not take a breath for at least 15 minutes! Somewhere during her babbling, I realize she wasn’t actually interested in hearing anything I had to say. She just asked me those questions as a springboard for her to talk. And talk she did.
After I paid my bill and left, the experience did make me wonder if that is the way I am towards others. When they come to my office with a problem, do I spend too much time talking and not enough time listening? When people come to me with their problems, do I really hear what they are saying or am I too busy thinking of what I want to say when it is my turn to talk? Many of us struggle with this in our lives. We speak more than we listen. And it is not very helpful to those who really need to share their burdens with us.
The next time we ask someone how they are doing or what their week has been like, perhaps we should actually listen to what they say. Perhaps we should try hard to engage them in a real conversation about their needs instead of trying to turn the conversation to something about us. We may be amazed at the difference being slow to speak makes in our relationships.
Lord, help us be a listening ear to those who need a friend. Amen.
Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: