An Ear to Lend and a Heart to Hold

I am not a good listener.
Seriously, I do not listen very well at all. I stumble into things (physically), over things (verbally), and I most certainly can be a very distracted conversationalist. Throughout the years I have grown in my listening ability but even now I am pretending to listen to my roommate as she talks to me. I am smiling and nodding in agreement because for the most part, I know what I am hearing. She’s describing that she is tired but with many more words. I nod showing I understand, I hear what she is saying, and I care.
Wait… do I really care?
Tonight as I was at a Bible study we were reading from Romans and two simple verses gave me a light bulb moment. Romans 12:10-11 says, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.”
That is when the light turned on.
I listen to people with lazy ears, half the affection I should be, and I don’t think about taking delight in honoring them. Simply put, we need to care about others more than ourselves. But when we put that into practice are we actually showing the people we speak to that we care?
Unfortunately in a conversation I know a person can tell if I am really giving them my full attention. When I don’t make eye contact, as small as a glance at my phone, my computer, whatever it may be that tips them off that I am not giving them my attention shows that I devalue them as a person.
My roommate knows I care and love her but she probably also knows i’m not listening incredibly intently. It is fairly obvious I am not hanging on her every word.
Why? Why do I not listen very well?
Because I choose who I am going to put value on and in the moment I chose to value myself, my time, and thoughts over her.
Whereas my focus needs to switch from me, to enthusiastically working for the Lord by putting her first, giving her the attention she deserves, and not getting lazy with it.
So I’m going to put down the phone, I am going to choose to care about others more than myself, and hopefully show the people in my life that I value them.
But more importantly that Christ does.
(Originally published on February 29, 2016)

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