listening wins

listening wins October 4, 2012

listening wins cartoon drawing by nakedpastor david hayward

Purchase the original or a print of this cartoon.

Do you take time to listen? Are you receptive? Are you open? Do you hear the many voices? Can you hear the countless stories? Have you felt the anguish, the pain, the joy, the love? Are your mind and heart wide open?

Or do you just chatter your life away, bowling over others in your way? Have you closed your ears and opened your mouth? Do you spout your certainties and shut your ears to questions and doubts? Hard hearted, stiff-necked, deaf and loud?

Some say love wins. Because love listens.

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  • cass

    2 ears…one mouth

  • Carol

    There is certainly no lack of biblical support for this cartoon:

    James 1:19 ESV
    Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

    James 1:19-20 ESV
    Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

    Proverbs 17:28 ESV
    Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

    Proverbs 29:20 ESV
    Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

    Proverbs 15:1 ESV
    A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
    Ephesians 4:29 ESV

    Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
    Proverbs 12:15 ESV

    The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
    Proverbs 18:2 ESV

    A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
    James 3:1-12 ESV

    Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! …

    The Christian is called to witness to the faith in both word and deed. Spoken Christian witness is proclamation of the Word of God. Conviction and conversion are the work of the Holy Spirit, not the Christian believer.

    Ezekiel 33:1-9 NIV
    33 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, 4 then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. 5 Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’
    7 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 9 But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.

    Speaking the Word includes being able to give a reason for our belief/hope. If we cannot give a reason for our beliefs, then we are probably only parroting a doctrine that we have not tested in the crucible of our own human experience. The shallowness of such a “witness” is painfully obvious to the target of our fideism.

    1 Peter 3:15-16 NIV
    15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
    16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

    Not just *what* we say; but *how* we say it is intrinsic to the faithfulness of Christian witness. Being a “bulldog for Christ” in an aggressive sense is an oxymoron.

    “Once ‘the religious hypothesis’ is disengaged from the opportunity to inflict humiliation and pain on people who do not profess the correct creed, it loses interest for many people.”
    –Richard Rorty, Religious Faith, Intellectual Responsibility and Romance

    When religion is in the hands of the mere natural man, he is always the worse for it; it adds a bad heat to his own dark fire and helps to inflame his four elements of selfishness, envy, pride, and wrath. And hence it is that worse passions, or a worse degree of them are to be found in persons of great religious zeal than in others that made no pretenses to it. -William Law

    It has always seemed unfair to me that many churches (and some individual Christians) keep careful records on how many converts they make to Christianity, but never keep any record of how many they drive away from Christ! –Ray C. Stedman

  • Richard

    Lots of scripture to back up having big ears and a small mouth. Thanks Carol.

  • Marie


  • thirza

    I’m listening..