Listening in action

8 Mar

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  James 1:19

My mind has been pondering several blog posts I’ve recently read lamenting the state of public discourse and what each of us should do to ameliorate the atmosphere.

Usually when the Holy Spirit wants to drive home a necessary change, He causes me to NOTICE and READ/HEAR the same message 3 times.

True to His practice, the art and gift of healthy communications was ‘front and center’ in my mind last week.  I had even articulated to my husband:

  • We should not even jump into a discussion with someone until we have taken the time and made the effort to understand and sufficiently verbalize back to the speaker his/her point of view.  And that summary, in a way, that satisfies the owner of the viewpoint.

That wise strategy bore fruit at church last Sunday.  A small conflict ruffling certain members’ feathers arose.  Communicating the complaint to others bordered on ‘talking behind the back’ of the brother in Christ whose decision about an upcoming church activity had miffed several.  The ‘miffed’ ones belonged to a certain church committee.  The ‘miff-er’ did not.

Thankful for the Holy Spirit’s recent focus on my heart, I volunteered to go to the ‘miff-er’ and ask directly why he had made the decision he did.

Here’s what I noticed:

  • I experienced NO pressure
  • my goal was simply to understand his reasoning
  • it was easy
  • he seemed pleased to be given the time to explain his thinking
  • I was able to go back and report to others what he said and recommend we allow his decision to stand
  • a leadership weakness in the church committee was revealed through this ‘conflict’
  • a procedure to avert future conflict was set in place to handle any abrupt suggestions from church members that startle us into acquiescing and making a decision without thinking and consulting the entire committee

Satan seems to enjoy stirring up dissension, especially in families, whether biological or in the Church.

A deep breath, a pause and some clear thinking combined with courtesy go a long way.  For the effort, the payoffs are out of proportion!


2 Responses to “Listening in action”

  1. Trish March 8, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

    I borrowed a book from a friend, Barbara Crofton’s MASS IN TIME OF WAR, last week. The author is an Episcopal priest who was in NYC when the Twin Towers were hit. She used the structure of the Mass to try to find an answer to why the terrorists did it. I’m not sure she answered the question completely, but she did refer to US history. Manifest Destiny, not keeping faith with our promises/treaties with native Americans; that our country chooses to help some countries, but not others, even now. It may even be worse these days, when we are bedfellows with those who would do us harm. The book came out in 2003, and at that time she did not see what would become of the site, but she was eloquent about the change in the ways people treated one another, helped one another, cared for others. She has a website

  2. Maria March 9, 2017 at 11:12 am #

    What an interesting metaphor – the mass as a context for suffering. I’ll look up her website. Thanks!

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