Today we shared inspiration from Our Daily Bread and from the book Redeeming How We Talk by Ken Wytsma and A.J. Swoboda.
We also shared EXCITING info about what we’re doing for Mother’s Day – get the details here.
Todd’s devotion is called ‘God-Sized Love.’ Read more here!
Joe’s devotional was about the value of listening.
Consider the three components of communication: speaker, listener and meaning. If words are the seeds a speaker sows, then the listener is the soil. Jesus draws upon this idea in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23). Several times in the gospels, Jesus accuses people of having ears to hear but never hearing. They hear the words but they are not listening. They cannot receive the meaning, so the seed falls on the ground, but because of the preconditions, or the state of our hearts, the word never penetrates the soil in a manner that would allow the seed’s potential to be realized. In other words, it won’t grow.
This is also why the teacher in the book of Proverbs counsels us “to not answer a fool according to his folly.” (Proverbs 26:4). He means that the correction or advice you might offer such a person will fall on deaf ears or sterile soil.
One way we can help our cause is by seeking common ground. Remember that communication isn’t just about the content, it’s also about getting aligned with the other person. If we want to ultimately long for relationship and for dialogue, we must engage the hearts of listeners first. Trying to become united in purpose means that a lot of our communication hinges on grace, permission and trust.
These things usually must exist before we enter into difficult conversations with success. This means we would do well to spend as much time tilling the soil as we spend sowing seeds.
Next to prayer, listening is perhaps the best way to create a positive context for conversation. Listening forces us to exchange hats with others and walk in their shoes. When we exchange hats, we develop empathy and understanding. Then we can more tenderly voice our concerns or offer our advice. We become like a doctor tuned into the sore spots and thus better at treating them. You can never go wrong with listening, but you can rarely go right without it.
Thanks for listening (see what I did there?)
– Joe and Todd