To answer before listening– that is folly and shame (shameful and foolish). Proverbs 18:13
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
Stephen R. Covey
I have no problem putting thoughts into words. I’m witty, and strong minded, so when I’m convicted about a thing I often have no hesitancy in expressing myself. Have you ever heard the saying, watch your mouth because it speaks faster than the mind can think? Today’s devotional, is about conversations: things I’ve observed with myself and my close friends.
I some times resent my impulses, especially my immediate reactions which I have to take control of. It comes naturally for me to walk away from people midway through conversation, to end conversations and even to end relationships. But it is not as easy to remain silent when wrongfully accused. I also find it easy to teach, yet with the same passion, it is extremely natural for me to bring correction concerning something I know is wrong. And for certain, I have accepted one thing as a MUST: to protect my territory, and sometimes I overprotect!
- Avoid people who defend themselves, these people tend to be sensitive about everything and totally misunderstanding. A few years ago, I saw it in a close friend and thought what a bad character trait. So, as diligent as I tend to be on self improvement, I avoid becoming defensive or accusatory, overall. This is my advice to you as well.
- It sucks to be misunderstood, but people do NOT like to be corrected. And in many cases, people feel uncomfortable, judged and rejected, all because of correction! My advice: use love and discernment when correcting others. Ie: take them aside and explain, be able to prove that you are correct, and if you cannot, just let it go.
- Before you give advice or make a judgment, realize that people DO NOT WANT YOUR ADVICE! If they do want it, hint at having counsel- but make them ask for it.
- Remember that conversations require listening! DO NOT INTERRUPT! You are not obligated to respond!
Some people have insecurity issues, so give them your full attention. are you BUSY multitasking? are you pretending to listen by nodding? Are you aimlessly focused on other things, like your phone?
- Try not to criticize. If you do let it be balanced WITH compliments (praise), commendation and constructive criticism.
- Watch your volume, and your tone. Speak with love and gentleness. You may be like me where you tend to yell, and mean no harm. Most people block out because of the tone and/or volume of the spoken voice.
- Ask thoughtful questions and be open to where the conversation goes. It gets interesting.
Lord Jesus, thank you for relationships. And I’m grateful for the spoken word and the thinking mind. I’m grateful for the ability to communicate, some read, some sign language, some dance, song play instruments- yet through it all we are communicating. It’s awesome, and I’m grateful for the ability and the grace. Today I ask you to give us increased wisdom, and understanding. And I pray you rebuke hypocrisy. In the name of Jesus, Amen.