Fresh Manna© by Pastor Tim Burt
James 1:19 “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”
I remember in my first month of marriage 29 years ago. I was a very young Christian and a new husband. I wasn’t very good at either. The second week into our new marriage, Renee and I had a quarrel. I was raising my voice at her and she started to cry. She ran off into the bathroom. I could hear her lock the door. I felt bad and asked her to come out. She wouldn’t unlock the door. I started to get mad again and told her to come out. She said “no!” Again I said, “Renee, come out right now!” Then she said, “No, you don’t love me, and you don’t care about me – you don’t listen to me.” It was there I began to learn that she interpreted listening as caring.
I went into the bedroom, got on my knees along side the bed and prayed. “Lord, I don’t know how to be a good husband and I don’t know what to do right now.” I kept reviewing the event in my mind but the Lord wanted me to stop doing that and listen to Him. It didn’t come easy but as I let the Lord continue to deal with and teach me, He showed me how important it is not to try to win a discussion or debate, but instead focus on and listen with a caring heart. If I did that and would swallow my pride and let honesty prevail, things would most always turn out alright.
He reminded me of and impressed me to turn to the verses 2 Tim 2:24 -25. It says, “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.” It teaches us that arguing and fighting keeps their heart closed and in battle position. It aligns our heart to approach conflict with a right attitude and perspective and gives us insight to winning people’s heart so that we might help them and curtail conflict. It doesn’t mean that your right attitude and correct and kind attempt to work things out is always going to resolve every conflict. It won’t. People have pride and ego’s and sometimes care more about their position because of a hard heart, than they care about working through a solution.
I make it a practice to be open, honest, forthcoming, and kind in communicating with people. I believe my life reveals the fruit to back that up. Yet I have been in conflicts using the above principles and have still dealt with people that were so focused on feeling offended or on winning their argument, that they could hardly hear a word I said or realize that I care about their best interests. You can’t do anything about that when it does happen. The only thing you can do is know that you sincerely tried to lovingly resolve and issue with their best interests at heart.
The verse does say, “Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.” You’ll know when you encounter that kind of person that won’t listen no matter how kind and caring you are. They will not stick to the issue at hand. They will not answer questions directly in trying to establish facts. Being mad, getting their point across and putting you in your place is their only objective – especially if they feel you hurt or betrayed them. Their face and body language will show their unwillingness to remember that you are a kind person that does care. All your past caring is forgotten and swallowed up by the offense and instead, you’ve become the enemy. They will then leave and talk behind your back, bad mouthing you. That is the number one reason people hate to get into conflict to begin with. They don’t want to be bad mouthed.
Setting these kinds of people aside, the point I want to make today is this; people don’t care how important you think you are or how right you think you are. They care about how much you care for them. Listening is one of the most important signs of caring.
The next sign is showing the appropriate and honest action to accompany what you’ve heard. That may be an apology. That may be a change of mind. IT WILL BE understanding their perspective and where they are coming from and working toward a win-win solution.
I have been trying to walk out this truth in my life from that day 29 years ago. It has revolutionized my leadership. My wife and others will follow my lead now. It won’t always work but not because it’s not a godly and right principle. Sometimes I still stumble at walking this out. Sometimes it’s them. You can’t control people’s attitudes and egos and unskilled behaviors. You will at least feel better as you rehash things in your head knowing you sincerely cared and tried to do the best by them.
Care. Tell them you care. Show them you care by listening. Work toward the best win-win solution you can keeping their best interests at heart. Most will know you care and most will be blessed that you are a good listener that is kind and that does care. For the ones that won’t, keep praying for them from a sincere heart of love! Hopefully either you’ll change or they will till things are worked out!
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2007 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.