How Can We Model the Love of Christ through Good Listening? [part four]
If you know me then you know that I like to engage in conversation. I’m not sure why – I only know that I love words – long words, short words, descriptive words, words that make you laugh, well-used words, and uncommon words. I love to look up the meaning of words and – well, a thesaurus still thrills my soul. Actually, when my girls were growing up we would play a game where we would see how many words we could use that meant the same thing. For instance, “that’s puzzlingly” would lead to filling in the same/similar phrase with a different word that meant the same thing – like ‘what a conundrum’, or what a ‘riddle’, which led to others like mystery, baffling, confusing, perplexing, and the list would go on as far as we could take it. anyway, you get the idea – words are like a game for me.
I’m not sure when it started. I don’t remember being a particularly chatty child growing up, though I do remember enjoying listening to the adults talk at our family gatherings- (we ate Sunday dinners together often), and I enjoyed their stories and conversations – maybe that’s where it started? Who knows – the point is, and I’m sure you can tell for yourself by now – I like to use words, both spoken and written. However, here’s the thing – just because you like words doesn’t mean you always use them well. I have learned that the hard way more often than I can count. Too many words can turn people away, harsh or unkind words can offend people, too few words can leave others with the opinion that you aren’t friendly, too many challenging words, regardless of their intention, can turn into a confrontation – and again, the list goes on and on. The point is, as you will read in point four of our study – carefully considering how and when we speak is extremely important. This can be particularly challenging when you like words. – it seems that the love of words can be both a blessing and a curse. but as I’m finding through this study, rising to the challenge may be difficult but the result will be unbelievingly beneficial for the effectiveness of our words. Me – from the Inside Out 🦋
As posted on biblestudytools.com
by – Sheila Alewine
4. After Listening, We Must Carefully Consider How and When We Speak
A good listener must become a good “responder” so that the conversation has an effective outcome. Listening doesn’t end when the other person has finished speaking. The goal isn’t that both of you “say your piece” and walk away, unchanged or with no better understanding of one another. How we respond in one conversation lays the foundation for the continuing relationship we want to build, as a bridge to share the gospel and model the love of Christ.
Sometimes we may not need to respond to a comment, but choose to fight that battle on another day, in a better setting and in another way. At other times, God provides an opportunity to speak words of grace and truth at just the right time. Our words are a reflection on the Savior we profess faith in and speak on behalf of. [Our words] should always leave an accurate impression of the character of Jesus, even when the truth may convict or challenge the listener.
Ecclesiastes 3:7b – “A time to be silent and a time to speak.”
Proverbs 15:28 – “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”
Proverbs 25:11 – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”
2 Timothy 2:14 – “Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.”
Ephesians 4:29-30 – “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Proverbs 12:17-18 – “He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”