How well do you listen? Do you take time to hear what is being said? Are you more willing to attempt to answer a question before it is fully spoken? Do you value your opinion more than others? Do you think that is wise?
By and large, we think we know more than the person we are talking to. Sure, know a handful of people who are specialists and we value what they say about their specialty. However, in normal conversation, our own opinion reigns king/queen over whomever we are talking to.
We see this belief exacerbated in social media—to the point of excessive offensiveness. We are far bolder giving our opinion when on social media than we are in person. Unfortunately, this a key contributor to divisiveness.
Our human inclination is to provide our opinion without being asked. We have been conditioned by today’s culture to spout off any time we feel like it. We are encouraged to be dramatic and argumentative. The same cultural attitude encourages us to be aggressive in standing against anyone who doesn’t agree with us. Where does that lead us? Into a culture of division, hate, feeling offended, and intolerance.
The wisdom of Proverbs is truly amazing. It can lead us to a society of tolerance. It teaches us to listen before we speak. It teaches us to guard what we say in order to save our self-esteem. I mean, how many of us have said something we later regretted? Don’t be shy. Raise your hand. I have both of mine raised.
If we learn to listen, to truly hear and understand what the other person is saying, before we spout off a harsh retort, we just might save ourselves a lot of heartache. When we understand one another and attempt to see things as the other person does, our own lives become better. When we add in a little consideration for one another, our lives become more peaceful.
A wise person listens before they speak. A wise person is in a continual learning mode. A wise person thinks through the pros and cons before they spout their opinion. A wise person brings about calm and peace rather than chaos and divisiveness. A wise person is willing to debate but unwilling to start a heated argument. Perhaps we all should listen more and speak less.
I pray we all decide to listen carefully. I pray we make an effort to understand one another. I pray each one of us pursues being wise rather than foolish. Listen to one another. Understand one another. Seek wisdom rather than folly. Speak sparingly. Save yourself from shame.
Proverbs 13:3 Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.
Proverbs 18:13 To answer before listening— that is folly and shame.