by Pastor Tim Burt
I remember in my first month of marriage almost 40 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 pleaded with her but to no avail. 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 and love.
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 instead be quiet and listen to Him. It didn’t come easy but as I let the Lord deal with and teach me, He showed me how important it was to quit trying to try to be right but instead, focus on and listening with a caring heart. If I did that, swallowed my pride, and let honesty prevail, things would most always turn out alright.
He impressed me to turn to the verses 2 Timothy 2:24-25 (NLT) “A servant of the
Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be
patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.”
These verses teach us that arguing and fighting keeps their heart closed and in battle position. Wisdom comes from trying to understand their perspective—not trying to win the argument. 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. You will always deal with a portion of people who respond more from their pride and ego than a right heart. James 1:19 (NLT) says, “My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
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. Over the years, being a good listener has created more opportunities to be a blessing, than any other thing in my life. It has been the greatest tool of God into other’s lives. It has because listening is one of the most important signs of caring which also translates as love.
The accompaniment to listening is showing the appropriate and honest reaction to what you’ve heard. That may be an apology. It might be a change of mind. IT WILL BE understanding their perspective and where they are coming from, and then working toward a win-win solution.
I have been trying to walk out this truth in my life from that day 39 plus years ago. 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. Conflict that doesn’t end well always feels like yuk! But, you will at least feel better as you rehash things in your mind, knowing you sincerely cared and tried to do the best by them. Sincerely praying for them will help keep affection in your heart for them despite the outcome.
Show people you care by listening. 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, they belong to God to deal with. You keep growing in your ability to love, listen, and care for others!
Philippians 4:9 (NLT) “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. “
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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