It has been said that listening is becoming a lost art. I believe this is true, and the demise of listening is made all the more rapid by the invention of the internet and social media. We no longer need to listen. We just express. And believe me, the fact that I am writing this and getting ready to post this short article on the internet is not lost on me. This is because the internet and social media is a tool which can be used for good or evil. Sadly, however, many people use the internet for evil, rather than good. They use the internet to express, express, and express, without listening. This results not only in poor listening skills but, more detrimentally, a decreased willingness or even desire to listen. Proverbs 18:13 says, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Too often we make the mistake of thinking we know what someone is trying to say or we think we know where they are going with this and so we cut them off without hearing all the facts. Or, we only catch part of someone else’s juicy conversation and we jump to false conclusions without verifying what we heard. Often where I’ve seen this mistake played out is when a person's friend comes to him or her and complains about someone else, about how they have been mistreated or sinned against. And because this person is a friend, we take their side against the other person. We tell them they are fully justified to be angry or to feel hurt because of how they have been treated. We give an answer before we hear [all the facts], and it is to our folly and shame. I must admit, I am notorious about doing this with my children. I give an answer before hearing all the facts because I don’t have the time or the patience to listen to why they are fighting or what the dispute is about. I pray we would all do better at not giving an answer before we hear.
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