“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Psalm 139:14 (NLV)
I hope you caught the change in the action wording in the questions presented. There is a difference in communication between hearing and listening, but what is it?
Hearing, as a form of communication skill, is passive. Think about the Peanuts® cartoons you have watched. When it comes time for any one of the less important characters to make a statement or two, a wind instrument makes a “Wah-wah; wah-wah-wah!” and it is left to the audience to determine what is/was being said. On the other hand, listening requires activity on your part. A good listener pays attention with the idea of understanding what is being said. Realizing that communications is a two-way street, a mature listener refrains from interrupting and from showing signs of the greater importance that he/she be elsewhere, repeatedly looking at his/her watch being one such message. We all understand there can be exceptions, but here we are trying to encouragethe development of good listening skills.
Now, let’s apply these hearing and good listener comments to our original questions regarding self-talk and God’s Word. Have you been hearing more or listening more to those self-condemnation comments or hearing or listening more from The One Who wants you to feel as confident, secure, and significant in your own view as you are in His. Intentionally or otherwise, sometimes subtly, we train ourselves through our self-talk, most of which seems to be down-putting. Unless we are seeking God’s constant companionship in making even stronger efforts to break those bad habits, it seem we’ve been better hearers than listeners. This is NOT God’s desire for us. He wants us to overcome the sinful habits of feeling inferior, insignificant, and insecure. (Come to think of it, each of those words begins with “in” leading to me-me-me . . .another day another message!)
Who are we, really, that God should care so much for us? We are some of the lost that “God sent His Son to seek and to save ...” God sent and Jesus left … heaven! Even never having been there, once I am there, I am sure I am not going to want to return to this earth! Jesus left heaven for ME! Are we listening? Until we started listening, we didn’t even care about Jesus, about God, or about anything more than our day-to-day getting through life. The SIMPLE TRUTH is, existing is all we are doing unless we have God in our lives. Strange as it sounds, our living comes through Jesus dying. He said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b) I’m listening to Him,, but sometimes instead of absorbing the SIMPLE TRUTH He KEEPS telling me, I revert to hearing (rather like those sounds from the unknown Peanuts® character) Not only was Jesus willing to leave Heaven, but He was also willing to live on this earth with no place to lay His head. (“The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20) He was ready to lay down His earthly life as soon as God required. (“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.” John 10:17)
In listening, do we hear how much each one of these verses teaches us of His personal care to individual me? (Oh, yes, I also heard the little voice that said, “BUT . . . you are not the only one for whom He did it . . .”
Little Voice, LISTEN to Me! THAT is NOT the point! However, if I were the only one, He still would have done what He did, because even with all my missteps, He loves me that much. I chose to follow Him, and as long as I continue to choose to walk with Him, His blood cleanses me and helps guide my footsteps back on the proper path. (I John 1:7 “…if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”)
Since our Creator did all of this FOR YOU and FOR ME, don’t you think we should and could take time to truly LISTEN?
Here’s a great place to start:
More from Psalm 139 (NLV):
1 O Lord, You have examined my and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Thank You, Father.
M Sue 8-5-2016