The internet is full of quick resources, words and self-help advice amidst times of calm and times of crisis. Today we talk about Anger. You can find help on literally anything on the go anytime, anywhere. But how much of it is true and actually helpful and how much of it is just click-bait and sensationalism. Thankfully, we have a book that has stood the test of time. King Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived (excluding Jesus fully-man of course). Solomon, Son of David, when asked by God he can have anything he wants, Solomon responded “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10). It is through this godly wisdom that we have the book of Proverbs today! Today we focus on Proverbs 18 – Learn to Listen.
Let’s journey through Proverbs!
Listening is one of the keys to a healthy marriage, a healthy workplace, resolving conflict. It is one of the hardest things for us to do
Our brains are constantly on the move, waiting and ready to respond to someone in a conversation. The gap between one person finishing their sentence and our reply seems to be only milliseconds, and if not, then the other person looks at us like something is wrong.
Even if we say something horrible, something thoughtless, or something unhelpful, at least we didn’t let the silence get awkward.
This isn’t just a good idea or a “tool” we use to be better at our job. Understanding requires that we listen, and listen well.
Proverbs says, “To answer before listening – that is folly and shame.” (Proverbs 18:13).
Listen to understand
One of the ways that God has given us for learning to listen is the practice of prayer. Look at Psalm 46:10 (“Be still and know that I am God”) and take seriously what it would be like to spend some time just listening to God. The verse doesn’t say, “Get your brain in gear, I am God.” It says, “Be still.” Learning to listen means we slow down our word factory and really hear what’s going on in the world we live in, and in the lives of the people around us.
Try to practice five minutes of total quiet today, just listening to the sounds around you. Do your best to turn down the volume on your thoughts and ideas and just hear what’s happening around you. Then, apply that to your conversations. See what happens.
An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.
2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.
3 When wickedness comes, so does contempt,
and with shame comes reproach.
4 The words of the mouth are deep waters,
but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.
5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked
and so deprive the innocent of justice.
6 The lips of fools bring them strife,
and their mouths invite a beating.
7 The mouths of fools are their undoing,
and their lips are a snare to their very lives.
8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
9 One who is slack in his work
is brother to one who destroys.
10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;
they imagine it a wall too high to scale.
12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.
13 To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame.
14 The human spirit can endure in sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?
15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
for the ears of the wise seek it out.
16 A gift opens the way
and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.
17 In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,
until someone comes forward and cross-examines.
18 Casting the lot settles disputes
and keeps strong opponents apart.
19 A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city;
disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.
20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.
21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
22 He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord.
23 The poor plead for mercy,
but the rich answer harshly.
24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
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