Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak (James 1:19, NIV).
Friend to Friend
I was flying to a speaking event … a three-day conference. And I was already so tired and just wanted to sit quietly and take a nap. As I took my seat, I prayed that the person sitting beside me did not want to talk. I know. So spiritual.
A young man sat down beside me. We exchanged the usual greetings. As the plane took off I opened my book and pretended to be reading. But the words were jumbled and made no sense because I was that tired. A quick glance brought great relief. The young man was reading a book. Yes! I thought I was home free.
And then it happened!
The “Dump Here” sign on my forehead evidently began to flash. The young man looked over at me and asked, “Where are you going?” “Houston” I replied. He smiled and went back to reading. Maybe I was still off the hook.
Then he asked what I was going to do in Houston.
“I’m doomed” I thought.
And so, it began.
An inward groan filled my heart and hoped it would soon end.
I am such a selfish spiritual brat.
He then said, “I have been flying all day from Alaska – headed to Oklahoma City.”
At this point I knew there was no point in trying to avoid the inevitable. I put my book away and turned in my seat to give him my full attention.
“What is in Oklahoma City?” I asked. “My wife” he said. He and his wife have been separated for two years but he was hoping that they could get back together.
As tears filled this young man’s eyes, I heard the Father say, “Child, I know you are tired, but I need you to minister to this broken lamb.”
And my heart broke for what broke His.
Chris poured out his pain and said, “I don’t know what to do. I have no plan to make it any different that it was when I walked out.”
I smiled and said, “It just so happens that I know someone who can not only heal your broken heart but help you in your marriage.” We talked for an hour and a half. My exhaustion had evaporated. And my hope in the healing power of Christ was renewed. Chris promised to think hard about everything I had shared with him. I love it – several seeds planted in that young man’s heart and I am sure God sent someone to reap the harvest!
When the plane landed, I stood to get my briefcase and saw dozens of passengers watching me. Evidently my sharing had escalated in to more of a sermon.
Chris smiled and said, "Thank you so much. I just think no matter what happens, everything is going to be okay."
I could not help myself. There ... in front of a plane filled with passengers ... I said, "No! Do not settle for anything less than God's best, Chris! Marriage is God's idea. He wants to restore your marriage. Do. Not. Settle. Okay?"
He smiled and with hope in his eyes, he said, "Okay! I promise. You know, I think God meant for us to sit together." I just smiled and thought, “Son, you have no idea!”
I hugged that young man as hard as I could and promised to pray for him. And as I walked away, I thanked God that I had listened.
People listen to people who listen. Jesus had a way of listening to people that reached into their heart and soul. Jesus knew how to prime the pump. When we take the time to ask questions and then really listen to the answers people give, we are priming the pump of their hearts.
What is inside will come pouring out! If we are willing to stop talking and really listen, we can bless others and bring them to Christ.
Lord, help me to be aware of the needs in the people around me. Help me choose to listen to them instead of just brushing them aside. I want to be Your hands and feet while I am here on Earth. Help me be a blessing to others.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
The key verse today is James 1:19 that says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak.” I tend to live this verse backwards because I am quick to speak and slow to listen. How about you? Think of one person who needs you to be a better listener in their life. Are you willing to make a commitment to bless that person by listening to them?
More from the Girlfriends
In order to learn how to really listen to people, we must first learn how to trust God. Why? Because God orders our steps. Steps of obedience. And when we trust and obey Him, people who just need a listening heart will cross our paths every day. Need help trusting God? Check out Mary’s book, 10-Day Trust Adventure.