Since I can remember, I was a talker. So much so, that ever since I can remember I have also heard “you talk too much” from friends and family. Most recently I’ve been accused by the one closest to me that I don’t listen; at least not enough or long enough to allow the person I’m in conversation with to make their point. I’m too busy trying to make mine. Let me plead guilty now in order to hopefully make a spiritual point. Age, which should bring wisdom, has begun to move me into an understanding that closing one’s mouth heightens one’s hearing and it is by hearing that faith takes place. See Romans 10:17. I get it now. I have been moved recently to shut up and listen. I mean consciously and deliberately keep quiet and resist the temptation to hear my own voice. The bible is full of references to the importance of being quiet, listening, being still, shutting up.
I merely bring this to your attention from the personal perspective that miraculous things happen when quiet replaces the noise you generate. Let me put it this way. When you’re quiet, people tell you stuff, reveal themselves, open their hearts and their minds. Basically what I’m saying is when you listen, God gives you through the Holy Spirit a wonderful opportunity to provide wisdom, empathy, sympathy, a shoulder and yes testimony, yours. By listening you become a vessel through which God can do His thing for someone else. Now I’m not trying to scare anybody, but a tone, a quiver, a held back tear, a momentary pause can reveal the need for a hug, a word of encouragement, a chance to let someone know you’re there for them; none of which you would know if you’re running your mouth all the time. Sometimes your best and most powerful gift is your ears. That might be why you have two of them and only one mouth. I’ll bet there are many who will read this, who will define their “bestest” friend as someone they can talk to without fear of judgement or condemnation. A funny thing happens when words meet the silence I’m referring to. Truth happens. And when truth happens, I guarantee you God shows up and shows out. That bestest friend I was talking about will also tell you when you’re wrong, mean, unforgiving and perhaps shortsighted. But through it all he or she is still your best friend.
Your ability to listen is a gift, dare I say blessing. Now I believe you are to use this gift to benefit others. How? By realizing you are to share the testimony of your life’s experiences with those who need to know he or she is not alone in their grief, their situation, their challenges or their circumstances. You have been there too. None of us are all that. We all got here by going through something. God molded us all. It’s called life. Been there! Bless that! “Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.” Luke 8:18. This may be a stretch to some of you. But to me as I unpack this, it lets me know I have so much to give and so many to give it to. It’s called having been blessed to live this long. But it means nothing if I don’t shut up and listen. These days, particularly from people I’ve known a long time, folk think there’s something wrong because I’m not saying anything. When I tell them I’m just intently listening to them, they all say the same thing in one way or another. “Your silence is deafening.” Now that’s an oxymoron for you. To me I’m just listening loud. You’d be amazed at what you hear. Proverbs 1:5 “Let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance…“ No matter how hard you try or think you’re trying, you can’t talk and listen at the same time.
May God bless and keep you always,