To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

The art of listening

I can still remember the experience. I was in my parents-in-law’s home in Bangsar. I was on the sofa speaking with this other man. I do not remember his name. We were talking about spiritual issues. And it suddenly dawned on me that this man was not at all interested in what i was saying. The way he was interacting in the “conversation” indicated that he was not having any regard to what I was saying. So I gave up. I thought that it was pointless for me to say anything.

It was a sobering experience. it was also an experience to provoke self-analysis. What am I like at listening? James says “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). Am I quick to listen or quick to speak? Sometimes we feel we just want to have our say.

It is beautiful to observe the ministry of our Lord Jesus on the road to Emmaus with those two disconsolate disciples. In light of the challenge for ourselves to listen well, consider the conduct of our Saviour in Luke 24:17-23:

He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’

They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’

‘What things?’ he asked.

‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him;  but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.’

He gave them time to talk, and he listened. What an example!

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