Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Have you Got a Minute?

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger..." James 1:19

How's this for an equation? The more I feel isolated and disconnected the more I need someone to listen to me before I can listen to them. The opposite therefore could be true, the more accepted I am the more I can listen.

Which comes first, being listened to or listening?

James is calling us as followers of Jesus to be first and foremost, good listeners. People who love to hear and understand. People who are known for a slowness in terms of speech and anger. People who legitimately care about the interests of others more than themselves.

The implication for our marriages is very powerful. What are we communicating to our spouses, verbally and non-verbally when it comes to listening? Are we approachable enough so when they say, "Have you got a minute" they don't have to be threatened by our response? Too often, to our shame, especially as husbands we can make our wives feel like they need royal permission to come into our presence and even then not guaranteed a listening ear. Of all the people to be listened to our God-ordained partners in life must know we WANT to hear from them. We cannot be what we are called to be without their involvement and they cannot be involved unless we are open and approachable.

I would suggest the deeper issue is our own marriage to Christ. I wonder how many times Jesus says to us, in essence, "Have you got a minute?" If we are not in the habit of listening to him through the Word and prayer why are we surprised when it becomes hard to listen to others? Jesus loved to listen and because of that people loved to talk to him. And then they wanted him to do the talking!

Your marriage is a powerful catalyst and witness to the work of Christ in your own home and the world around you. We are a people who cried out to God for forgiveness... and he listened. He then spoke words of hope and comfort that would forever change our lives.

Take a minute right now to stop and listen to the Lord.

Now go and listen to your spouse!

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