by Pastor Tim Burt
I remember in my first month of marriage 32 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 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 Tim 2:24 -25. “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.” This teaches 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.
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. Another sign is showing the appropriate and honest action to accompany 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 working toward a win-win solution.
I have been trying to walk out this truth in my life from that day 32 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. 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.
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, keep praying for them from a sincere heart of love! Hopefully either you’ll change or they will till things are worked out!
James 1:19 (NLT) My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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