“My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger,”
Had a bit of a revelation today while talking to a friend at work. He was telling me about how God had been moving in the relationships in his life by being intentional to others in sharing the love of Christ with them. I was so excited!!! Everything he was saying was so spot on to the God Golds this past week and in the days to come. I got so jacked up because all of these lessons about relationships God has been revealing to me, my buddy was speaking of living that same truth. My immediate thought was to share with him all that God has been doing in my life and teaching me because it was all so similar, so I did. I began talking and I was so focused on sharing with him all God has taught me lately that what looked like an awesome opportunity and a really good thing, it slowly began to not be good at all. I was so consumed to talk and share all these things that it got to the point of being somewhat selfish. My friend would chime in here and there but during the conversation I was so driven to get all of this stuff out that I would talk over him at times, when he would talk I would already be thinking of what I was going to say next, giving no time to truly listen and take in the God Gold he was sharing with me.
Of course, sharing what God has done and is doing in your life is the mission but there is a way in which God’s truth is meant to be shared in the context of relationships, while also a way that is not what God intended at all. God began to show me the wrong I was doing mid-way through the conversation and I was pretty upset at myself. I had let my selfish motives get the best of me to the point I wasn’t listening hardly at all but only speaking. During this it was just like my friend was a ghost where I only saw right through him and past him into my own thoughts and desires to get MY point across. Sharing with someone the complete Gold God has been teaching me about relationships, I was so caught up in me that I overlooked a relationship that God has placed in front of me.
What was really cool about this experience was seeing why the God Gold started this week with the truth Jesus has spoken to us about losing self and following after Him alone. When I was in the way, and this fits into more contexts than just my example today. When we, ourselves, is in the way, attacking this great commission God has called us to comes to a halt. We only seek out what makes us feel good, such as self recognition, compliments, other’s views of us and so much more. When ourselves get in the way, the relationships around us begin to have a lot of negative momentum. Others in front of us and around us are like ghosts that we see right through while on the way to fulfilling our selfish desires and pride. You see now why Jesus would emphasize the truth of leaving ourselves behind and if we don’t do that, it’s impossible to follow Christ on this mission He’s given us.
After being convicted and God opening up my eyes to see how I was getting in the way, I just prayed and surrendered myself before God for His service, seeking His wisdom and discernment on how to handle this conversation. I don’t say that to toot my own horn, I just want you to know that the truth is we don’t have what it takes and are in such great need for Jesus during conversations with others such as this but even to get ourselves out of the way. Then God went to work. It’s so crazy how it’s not that we need to plan things out, learn a script, or do anything more but it’s actually doing less and surrendering ourselves that opens up the door to being a vessel used by God and acting out of the control of the Holy Spirit.
I went back to the conversation and God did what only He could do and what I obviously couldn’t do. God moved me to just speak less and listen to my friend more. It was then that I actually heard the God Gold that was being spoken from him and his words pierced me with much needed encouragement in so many ways. Instead of seeing past him, I saw his heart and was moved by many different examples he used from his own life and lessons he’s learned. By letting go of self, God moved me to listen more and showed me in those moments the beauty of relationships. When we are just focused on us and getting our points and opinions across, that moves us nowhere and also moves the person you’re speaking with nowhere. That’s why it’s called a relationship, because you have relations with someone else, not just speaking and never listening. At that point we’d be better off talking to a wall. I can’t begin to tell you how much I learned from my friends words and that would have never been so without Jesus at the lead.
Listening also opens up the door to hear what the person is saying and responding to his words with encouragement to stir him on in continuing to live for and seek out the Lord. Listening opens up doors that would always be closed if we choose to put speaking in it’s place. Doors to offer wisdom, to be intentional in hearing what the person is saying and thinking of ways you may be able to add value to their life. Listening takes humility and leaning on God but at the end of the day, actually listening to someone and showing how much you care to hear about what they have to say may be the exact encouragement they need in their lives. You can see it all over Jesus’ example throughout His time on this earth, Jesus lived on mission and gave us such a great visual of what that looks like. It starts with surrendering yourself to God and trusting in Him, then God leads us to live on mission in ways that Jesus so often did. And what is living on mission? That’s simply just serving others and adding value to their lives.
During the end of that conversation God was continuing to take control of my words and actions, so I felt led to ask my buddy a question that I will also leave to you. I would absolutely love to hear your feedback on this because just like my friend today, I saw the importance of listening to others as I was able to learn from him. So please leave me feedback on your answer to this because I would love nothing more to hear your perspective on this to better learn about relationships outside my narrow vision.
What does serving and adding value to the people that God has placed around you look like in your life? Or what could it look like if you embrace this attitude by being intentional in those relationships?