Fresh Water: The Art of Listening
For the last four weeks, we have been examining James 3, a passage dedicated to the dangers of unrestrained speech and the importance of using your tongue for good, rather than sin. This week, let’s take a look at the reverse side of the coin: listening.
In our conversations, the time we spend listening may be just as important as the time we spend speaking. Who and what we decide to listen to can have a profound impact on our life, and will likely change how we decide to speak to others. Therefore, learning what the Bible teaches us about the art of listening is certainly worthy of our time.
1.Why is someone who “uses words with restraint” someone who has knowledge?
2.Why would sin be more present when words are many?
3.Proverbs 10:20 compares the value of two different things: the tongue of the righteous and the heart of the wicked. How are the tongue and the heart connected?
1.While this passage is specifically about dealing with food that may be considered “unclean” to eat, the larger context points to the idea that we should not be concerned with condemning others for taking part in something of we which we disapprove. Is this something with which you struggle?
2.How does the idea of listening, rather than speaking, connect with this passage?
1.If we are to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,” what should our speech look like?
2.How do we use our tongues and our ears to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds?”
1.Are you someone who tends to talk too much?
2.When was a time when you spoke when remaining silent would have been a better choice? Why?
3.What are ways we can train ourselves to speak less and listen well?
4.How can becoming better listeners be useful in our evangelism?
Pray this week for the patience to slow down when you speak, and to be more discerning with how and when you use your words. Ask for guidance when responding to people and for the ability to listen intently and seek to truly understand others before you respond to them. Thank Jesus for his example of someone who took time to listen to those who came to Him, and seek to emulate His ability to respond in love and kindness, even in times when he was being treated poorly.