Be a Listening Ear
"Bear with me while I speak, and after I have spoken, mock on." Job 21:3, NIV
One of the hardest things for me to do as a husband is to listen without comment. As men, we are generally “fixers”. We want to fix the problem. So, when our wives come to us with a problem, our desire is often to provide solutions. Or, at worst, to dismiss the problem as “nothing to get upset about”. Many times, all my wife wants from me is a sympathetic ear. This is why women often bond so quickly with other women, because they share similar outlooks towards problems.
Job was miserable. He had lost everything and his friends thought they could come and “fix things” with a few choice words. Job said he just needed to vent. Ever feel that way?
When we meet someone on the street, a typical question for conversation is, “How are you?” Of course, we anticipate hearing a reply such as, “fine” or “I’m doing okay” or maybe “if I was any better I couldn’t stand it”. When the person starts to respond with “Well, have you got a few minutes...”, then we know we have troubles. We are about to hear more than we asked for, aren’t we?
Let me ask you something: as Christians, shouldn’t we be that listening ear? Sure, it takes time to have compassion. It may interrupt our day if we get involved in a long story, but isn’t that what we are called to do?
The disciples, and others following Christ, were often ready to send people away from Jesus. The little children, the hungry people, and Zacchaeus were all originally seen as interruptions in Jesus’ day. Jesus didn’t think so. He took time for people; even people others rejected.
As we continue to grow as a Christian, and as we desire to look more like Christ, we need to be willing to bear with others; even when bearing is uncomfortable at times. Who do you need to bear with today?