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19 March -Stop and Listen!

Stop and listen! I would have saved myself some grief today if I’d stopped sooner and listened. In a large household there is always plenty of noise, actually a lot of noise: talking, singing, music, tap dancing, arguing and the occasional emotional outburst.

It takes some serious self control at times to just listen. People around you, and strangely those closest to you know exactly which buttons to push. If we are not being particularity self aware we will react. Unfortunately not always as well as we would like to.

Today was one of those day. Yet in the midst of all the noise I heard God speaking. Breathe, stop, and listen to what is really going on here…and so I did. Then God spoke, He brought wisdom, revelation and most importantly understanding.

Lack of understanding others is a never ending source of tension and strife in our families, relationships, work places, churches, communities and society in general. An attorney once said, “Half of all the controversies and conflicts that arise among people are caused not by differences of opinion or an inability to agree, but by lack of understanding of one another. If we could reduce the number of misunderstandings, the courts wouldn’t be as crowded, there would be fewer violent crimes, the divorce rate would go down, and the amount of everyday stress most people experience would drop dramatically”.

So how do we learn to understand one another better? One way is to look at why we lack understanding, and to ask ourselves some questions:

Are we afraid? When we don’t understand others we often react in fear. Try to stop and learn about the other person, and their viewpoint and make an effort to understand what they are trying to do or say. Stop and listen.

Are you being self-centered? Are you putting the other person first. Unfortunately when we fail to understand it’s often because we have thought of our own interests and desires first.

The bible has some wise words on this topic ,” Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves“(Philippians 2:3)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love“.(1 John 4:7-8)

Are you expecting everyone to think exactly like you on every opinion and value? If you are  you are setting yourself up to be disappointed. Look around you, everyone is different. God is creative, and made each of us unique in our own way. Instead of trying to mold everyone into your own box, learn to appreciate differences. If we learn to appreciate each other we often find where we are weak in a area the other person is strong and we end up complimenting one another.

Are you too alike? Often people who share similarities either get on famously or “butt heads”. Stop, listen and think how would I respond in this situation. When people are similar they often have the same emotions and point of view but they are just to similar to see it.

I read a great quote this week by John Maxwell, it said, “If you treat every person you meet as if he or she were the most important person in the world, you’ll communicate that he or she is somebody – to you”

When we stop, listen and seek to understand other people’s feelings and point of view, it goes a long way to creating great communication and relationships. It’s not always easy, you have to quiet the noise, step back, ask for God’s wisdom and be honest with your own short comings. But if we make the effort it’s worth it.

Prayer: Lord help me to take the time to stop, listen and ask you for understanding of others.Help me to love like you love. In Jesus Name Amen.

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