If one gives answer before hearing, it is folly and shame. (Proverbs 18:13)
In his book “Tattoos on the Heart”, Father Greg Boyle, who founded a gang-intervention ministry in Los Angeles called Homeboy Industries, recounts a story about a former gang member called Rascal.
Rascal didn’t have a habit of listening, but one time when Father Boyle gave him some advice, and Rascal pointed to his heart and said “I’m going to take that advice and let it marinate right here.” Rascal was on to something. Our best listening occurs when we listen with our hearts. When our hearts are attuned to others, we seek out the good in them. When our hearts are attuned to ourselves, we can get caught up in our own selfish narratives and tune others out. These narratives then turn into assumptions.
The writer of Proverbs was quite astute. Offering an answer to someone without listening first usually means that we’ll say something stupid (folly), which can cause us embarrassment (shame).
Father Boyle tells another story about two nurses wheeling a fatally injured, heavily tattooed gang member to get his organs harvested for donation. One nurse couldn’t understand why anyone would want this kid’s heart, given his gang membership. The other nurse replied that neither one of them knew anything about his life, so any assumptions were premature. Our assumptions say a lot about us, whether we fail to listen to another’s words or another’s life.
Prayer of Response:
So, let’s marinate on good listening this week. Amen!
—Submitted by Libby Rutherford