|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “How to inhabit time”
Our Bible verse for today: “Then they sat on the ground with him seven days and nights, but no one spoke a word to him because they saw that his suffering was very intense.” Job 2:13 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Two ears, one mouth”
This morning I want to take us back to the prayer I quoted yesterday from the old nun. In it she asked the Lord to give her the patience to simply listen to others without feeling as if she needed to say something about everything, and without believing it was up to her to straighten everyone else out.
It has rightly been said that the good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth, so He must intend for us to listen twice as much as we talk. I believe that’s true, but I also believe it’s a challenge for many of us. Some of us are inclined to talk much more than we listen. And even when we do listen, we’re often only half-listening because as the other person is talking, half of our brain is listening to them and the other half is thinking about what we want to say next. Then, as soon as the other person pauses for a breath, we jump in with our thoughts and comments. Worse, if the conversation had up to this point been about them, our temptation is often to hijack it and make it about us now. We’re all sometimes guilty of this.
The Biblical story of Job and his three friends is a legendary example of a suffering man having to endure the presence of three people who talked too much, about things they actually knew little about, and attempting to do so with a sense of authority that was misplaced. Consequently, they said a lot of dumb things that weren’t helpful.
But it didn’t start that way. In fact, they started out very well. In Job 2:13 (above), we find that when they first arrived, they simply sat in silence and supported their friend with their presence. This is what we call “the ministry of presence”. It’s not always necessary to say something. You can bless and support the person simply by being with them and empathically entering into their suffering with them. Job’s friends were doing well – until they started talking.
Sometimes one of the most helpful and considerate things we can do for someone is to simply listen to them – really, deeply, sincerely, listen. When you do so, you’re giving them the gift of your time and attention. A suffering or struggling person often just needed someone to listen. Talking can be therapeutic.
God did give us two ears and only one mouth. Most of us would be better off if we listened more and talked less.
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