Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
Believe it or not, we prefer to talk rather than listen. There are several reasons for this.
- When we have decided that we want to respond to the speaker, we then stop listening for two reasons. To avoid forgetting what we are going to say, we need to keep rehearsing our thoughts and words and so get lost inside our own heads. We also stay inside as we think about better ways to put our case. When we are paying attention to the speaker, we are not listening to what they say but listening for a space in which we can interject with our reply.
- People who are talking usually have their attention on themselves and what they are saying. With this self-focus, they do not notice that other people are waiting to speak or want to comment about what the speaker has said. Even if they do take notice, many people will continue to talk, either to retain control or to fulfill their need for completion (even if nobody is listening!).
- It’s Boring!!
- If I can talk at 200 words per minute, and I can listen at 300 words per minute, and then you start talking, I can’t hear myself speak.[i]
No, these are not valid reasons and are proof that we are too consumed with ourselves. Listening to God takes practice because it can be both verbal and spiritual, that still small voice. So, as they say in Latin, tacete et audite.