“Know thyself.” That is one of the maxims that was inscribed at the oracle in ancient Delphi. It is still good advice. So, following that advice, here is what I know about myself. I love to talk! I know, that is a shock, right? I love to talk. It is not hard for me to get in front of a group of people or talk with folks one on one. But, what I need to do is learn to listen better.
As we all know, Jesus calls us to “love one another.” One of the most loving things we can do for one another is to listen. When we listen, we open our hearts to the other person and join them, if even for a moment, in the journey of their life. That is love, is it not; to join with someone and to share part of his or her life? I find that I need to work hard, sometimes, at listening.
I am encouraging all of us to set a goal of listening more closely to one another. There are times in our world today when it seems that soliloquy has been mistaken for dialogue. We seem to talk past one another and not to one another. This causes so many things that are harmful to community. It creates misunderstandings. It causes hard feelings. It allows some to dominate the “center ring” and forces others to “take a back seat.” If we are truly to be in community, we need to listen to one another as an expression of the love to which Jesus calls us.
As a further part of my Lenten Discipline, I have chosen to step away from social media, the forms of communication that are based on the internet. The problem I feel like I observed was that people tend to “converse” without ever listening. And, I fear, I was one of them. So, by the way, I am only on Facebook for very, very brief moments. Why would I do this? Because I feel like I need to spend more time seeing the person’s eyes when I talk. It is a lot easier to listen to someone if you can see his or her face. So, please do not assume I will see something you post, because I probably will not unless you address it to me (“tag”).
So, friends and fellow followers of Jesus, may we listen more intently to one another. May that be a sign of our love and connection to the One who calls us to love…and listen.