It was a late night coming home this evening. Our family was all gathered around the kitchen, and I found myself saying, “go brush your teeth. Why are you eating pizza, it is 10:00? George and Oliver, did you brush your teeth?” After speaking, I realized that no one was listening to me! My husband asked Oliver if he knew what his mother was saying to him and his response was, “what?” Sometimes I just want to do a crazy dance and yell, “would you please listen to me!”
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
Well, that pretty much sums up why I get frustrated when my kids are quick to speak and slow to hear, it doesn’t line up with the word of God, haha! In all honesty, I know I’m not the only parent that feels this way, I’m sure many, if not all can relate to a frustration of someone not listening to you. Here is the only problem in my situation, I am just like my kids many times. I love to talk and tell stories, and once I am on a roll, I have a hard time quitting. I remember when I was growing up, my dad told me he would pay me $10 if I could just be quiet for 10 minutes! I am pretty sure I didn’t make it to my $10 reward, it was almost impossible for me to be silent. Even though my dad was some-what joking, I know I probably drove my whole family crazy half the time. In high school, I loved telling my mom about my day right after she tucked herself into bed and started reading her book. I knew this was her quiet time, and I interrupted it often. My mom was always gracious about it though and would put her little book down and listen to me, even if it meant me talking for 30 minutes, she took the time.
The older I am becoming, the more I realize the importance of listening. In James, we are clearly directed to be quick to hear and slow to speak. Nothing is overcomplicated about that. I am thankful for all the listeners in my life. The ones that have gentle smiles on their faces as you talk, and they genuinely listen to you and are not in a hurry to respond. Do you know someone like that? I find that good listeners are usually peaceful people, people who reflect the Father and His goodness.
In the Book of James’, I believe he was reminding us that we shouldn’t be fixated on being heard to get what we want. To not feel as though we must have a say in every situation and state our opinion. With this said, it’s okay if you like to talk, but if you tend to be a talker like me, this scripture is a good reminder to be a listener too. I am going to take a moment to ponder my own listening skills in this season and be intentional to be a great listener. In a world where it seems like everyone wants to be heard, what would happen if we chose to slow our speaking and quicken our listening?