A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing personal opinion. Proverbs 18:2 NRSV
Have you ever known someone who never listens? I mean never listens. They are too busy talking, usually about themselves, their immediate family, their problems, their job, their struggles and stresses. One book I read suggested calling these types of people "social vampires" as they tend to suck the life right out of your friendship/relationship. In whatever situation that they find you, they will give advice or their opinion without taking time to listen to you and understand how you are feeling.
Well, I don't want to be called a fool but I know that I am really good at expressing my personal opinion. How about you? Are you better at listening or giving advice? Do you begin to tune someone out when you know what you think needs to be said? Are you more aware of what you should say in response than what is coming out of your friends' mouth? Have you ever just tried to listen without working on any type of retort?
As a pastor, I am expected to have some sort of holy opinion, I suppose. I have learned to keep my mouth shut (most of the time, anyway) when someone is talking. At least I try to reiterate back to them what I think I heard them say. That will at least put a stopgap into my inane attempts at trying to "fix" them. One good way to respond is simply to pray with them right then and there. That reminds both of us who is really in control! This would work with anyone who struggles with trying to simply listen: pray with them before trying to give your personal opinion!
See if you can't take more pleasure in understanding others today and throughout this weekend.
God, help us to do more listening and trying to understand than expressing our personal opinion. Thank you for loving us even when we are foolish. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims