When I was a teacher, I taught students how to listen. As in break the skill down and practice. We talked about posture and body language, emoting interest and tracking. All the things.
Upon turning the television on or opening up any social media app, painful realization hits me in the face. We've lost that skill with one another. Instead of leaning in, we are stepping out of the conversation, plugging our ears up, and la la la'ing our way into our own world, our own point of view, and our own opinion.
We can't live like this, y'all.
Look at Jesus and the example He set.
I firmly believe Jesus walked the planet thirty years prior to public ministry, actively listening to others. Whether it be in the home with his parents, brothers, and sisters or in the synagogue or maybe in the marketplace, I believe Jesus heard and Jesus saw.
So, step back from this picture and remember Jesus was the embodiment of God and saw straight to the heart.
He still thought listening was necessary. He cared enough to stop, bend His ear, and lean in.
I skimmed the book of Matthew today and read several instances when Jesus listened during his public ministry. He leaned in to:
The disciples of others
The bleeding woman
His hometown folk
The Canaanite Woman
Obviously, Jesus didn't agree with all of these people. He certainly didn't see eye to eye with those diabolically opposed to the fulfillment of His mission. However, they were all beloved creations, image bearers, written on the heart of the Father.
Regardless of approval or consent, they were important—to Him. And He chose to die in an act of obedience toward His Father because of their significance in the Kingdom.
Here's the thing. Listening is not easy; it's a practiced skill set. Those who are gifted with the ability cause me to stand in awe.
But we don't even try. In fact, we stick our ear buds in and intentionally unplug from humanity.
Let's commit to follow the example of the One who walked the walk and talked the talk. Let's lean toward one another and in the process, maybe, healing will begin.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.