Thursday, January 15, 2015

“Sometimes, the most healing thing we can do for another human being, is to listen to them, just ... LISTEN.”

“There is a kind of listening with half an ear that presumes already to know what the other person has to say. It is an impatient, inattentive listening, that despises the brother and is only waiting for a chance to speak and thus get rid of the other person. This is no fulfillment of our obligation, and it is certain that here too our attitude toward our brother only reflects our relationship to God. It is little wonder that we are no longer capable of the greatest service of listening that God has committed to us that of hearing our brother's confession, if we refuse to give ear to our brother on lesser subjects. Secular education today is aware that often a person can be helped merely by having someone who will listen to him seriously, and upon this insight it has constructed its own soul therapy, which has attracted great numbers of people, including Christians. But Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them by Him who is Himself the great listener and whose work they should share. We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German Lutheran pastor, anti-Nazi dissident, and martyr)

Scripture text: (HEB 3:7-14)
The Holy Spirit says:
Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
“Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion
in the day of testing in the desert,
where your ancestors tested and tried me
and saw my works for forty years.
Because of this I was provoked with that generation
and I said, ‘They have always been of erring heart,
and they do not know my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter into my rest.’”
Take care, brothers and sisters,
that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart,
so as to forsake the living God.
Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,”
so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.
We have become partners of Christ
if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.

Today! Today! How many more today’s do we have?

The reading from the book of Hebrews hits home quoting psalm 95: "Oh that today would hear his voice!" That is the question. Do we really believe that God speaks to us each day in the circumstances of life? If we answer "yes", then we recognize the gift of each day. We need to encourage ourselves daily while it is still TODAY. Tomorrow may never come.

In the hustle and bustle of our lives, it’s very easy to become distracted, and to not be very present to those around us. It’s easy to ‘tune out.’ I think the writer in Hebrews is telling us to listen.

Listening is a great skill. It’s pretty easy to tell if somebody isn’t listening to you. How often do we really listen actively? Do we consistently listen for God? When He is trying to communicate with us, does he get our undivided attention? The writer alludes to the experiences of the Israelites who didn’t’ exactly listen to God. They thought they were just fine on their own. Their hearts were hardened. It took some time for them to figure out that they needed to listen to God in order to reach the Promised Land.

Let us take some time to think about really being present, and listening to those who are speaking to us. Let us make it a practice to find some quiet time each day to listen. Let's be open to what we hear. Let us not be afraid to pray for direction.

If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart.

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