LUKE 6:6-8: “Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered. So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him. But He knew their thoughts…” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Have we lost the ability to listen? Am I a good listener? Do I really know what it means to listen? To “listen” is defined as – “…to give ear; to attend closely with a view to hear; to yield to advice; to follow admonition…” (Webster). Throughout the Bible we are called to listen. Yet, it is not simply to listen, but to listen with a desire to learn, to understand, and to obey.
Has listening become a lost art in our culture?
Last night I turned on one of the cable news channels, and heard a debate between a conservative and a liberal on the current immigration issue. Each person had mastered the ability to “talk”, but neither had the capacity or desire to “listen”. The discussion was not an exchange of ideas, but a shouting match of talking points. While one was talking, the other was simply preparing his counter attack. There was no lending of the ear, no attending closely with a view to understand, no willingness to consider and head advice. There was no listening!
If we are so set in our ways, if we are so determined we are right, and if we are so filled with anger – we will never listen. The Pharisees came to the synagogue, not to hear Jesus, but to trap Him. It said – “…they watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him…”. When Jesus asked whether it was lawful to do good or evil not the Sabbath, they did not even hear His question. When Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, they could not see the power of God, only their anger and hatred for Jesus.
Today, I need to honestly seek my heart to see if I am acting the same way the Pharisees acted when they encountered Jesus!
If we are going to do anything together, we first need to listen to one another. We all need to search our hearts, and lay down our anger at the door. The Bible exhorts us to speak the truth in love. Truth is never meant to be a club, but it is meant to be a doorway to freedom. Jesus said – “…If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32 NKJV). We will never know the truth, if we never learn to listen. We need to listen to the Lord, we need to listen to the Word of God, and we need to listen to one another. If we are really after truth, we will lay down the “angered debate” and try to reach common ground based in “truth”. This is not a call to compromise the truth. Rather it is a call to seek the truth with an honest, open, and loving heart.
And, when we do not agree, it is a call to love!
- “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” Luke 6:27-31 NKJV
We need to rediscover the art and the heart of listening!
Lord, teach me to listen! Forgive me for any anger that I have harbored in my heart. Free me from my own insecurity so that I can truly hear the heart of others. Give me wisdom and insight into Your Word so that I can discover Your Truth! Help me to communicate this truth with an attitude of humility, mercy, and love. Grant me a heart to truly listens – first to You, and then to others.
Help me rediscover the art and heart of listening!
In Jesus Name!