Everyday we engage the community around us, grocery stores, business contacts, neighbors, mechanics, etc … One place I frequent is the YMCA. The Y is a great place for conversation, particularly in places like the hot tub, sauna or steam room. Yesterday, while sweating in the sauna, I was able to meet a young artist from Togo living in GR named Wisdom. It was great to hear a little of his story; to hear about his art, culture, love for GR. It was an initial conversation, I am looking forward to more.
One of the great gifts that we can give to people is to hear them out. I have been struck by this coming out of the recent election cycle. Both leading up to the election and coming out of it, I have seen people much more apt to give their opinion (posting on FB or in person) rather than to listen to their brothers and sisters. James has a perspective that is worth hearing to: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19). When we do this follow, the pattern that God sets when he deals with us: he listens. Take a look at the following list the session compiled a few years ago that indicates how God listens to us:
He inclines his ear to us. He sympathizes with us. Gets down to us (our level). Welcoming - Drawing us to himself. Hears with understanding. Hears the real message through our groaning. Hears us with delight. Never gets tired of hearing us. Without finding fault (not upbraidingly) Objectively. Without neediness on his part. Personally. His hearing has life to it. It’s essential. Hears with undivided attention. Hears above the noise.
Wouldn’t it be great if our listening to one another, both those like us and those different from us (culturally, politically, emotionally, racially, socio-economically, educationally, etc..) looked like that! Well there is no reason why it can’t. After all, who lives in you? Whose ears do you have? We are united to Christ and our life is hid with Christ in God. Let’s listen to Wisdom!