We had dinner last night with a lovely couple & the husband said something profound that is continuing to echo in my thoughts today: We are not all called to talk, in terms of public speaking, but we are all called to listen.
There are times, no doubt, when we need to speak up & be advocates for love and justice. Additionally, some of us have the gift of gab & our personality lends itself to be a “talker.” But let us never minimize the importance of listening – not only with our ears or intellect (so that we can interject a witty comment or some helpful wisdom), but also with our heart, so that we can be attentive with compassion, tender affection and gentle endurance.
In Mark 4:9, Jesus says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
I’m in Bangledesh & interviewing families who have recently fled from Burma, literally running for their lives, many of whom are pregnant, with newborns & babies in tow. The things I’m hearing & seeing here are deeply moving. I’ve met moms who have lost their babies, whose babies are malnourished & who are trying to nurse newborn twins. This is all very powerful for me to hear & see, meeting mom’s & babies who have survived atrocities & uncertainties of catastrophic proportions.
And i can’t help but think about Mary, Jesus’ mom, who fled in the middle of the night with Joseph, with baby Jesus in her arms. Joseph had a warning dream about Herod killing all the babies in Bethlehem, so with tremendous urgency, he escaped Herod’s murderous intent. So Mary understood the plight of the moms I’m meeting.
May we also find genuine love to be our first reaction when we hear of refugees & moms who are doing everything possible to keep their babies alive & safe.
In our modern world, outage is common & I think even expected sometimes. It seems like we can get massively incensed at almost anything: driving infractions, mistakes on paychecks or bills, government shortfalls, moral failures in Christian leaders, etc
But here’s something to consider: if sin is the common human experience, why do we allow ourselves to be outraged when people sin or make mistakes? Wouldn’t we be more constructive to celebrate the moments when humans don’t behave sinfully? What about when a driver makes space for you instead of cutting you off? That’s noteworthy! What about when a government does something positive that exceeds your expectations? This might not be often, but that’s exactly why we should celebrate it! And when a Christian leader has a moral failure, let’s not be so much outraged as we should pray for them & have sincere compassion because we identify with our own shortfalls.
Let’s aim for less outrage & more celebration 🙂
I don’t care for the 2×4 technique: you know, the times when it feels like you smacked upside the head with a massive reality check. I prefer the gentle instruction but alas, sometimes I don’t get subtle. When I come to Cambodia & in lots of my work with Saving Moses, I often have the 2×4 experience- seeing babies in deplorable situations & meeting toddlers who have molested.
I think Jesus would have us listen & watch to be moved in our hearts because indeed, Jesus is deeply concerned & moved. Jesus is moved & when we are obedient I don’t see how cannot be deeply moved, even with the 2×4 experiences. Let’s be careful in our daily living that we don’t insulate ourselves from the things that move Jesus.
On my last day of snowboarding this season, I took a really hard fall, landed on my head & sustained a concussion. A concussion is an injury to the brain & I’m learning that the brain recovers at its own pace, regardless of my impatience. Of course I’m praying & trusting God for my recovery. In the meantime, I find myself more sympathetic & compassionate toward people, even when I don’t know why they might be acting poorly. Something inside me (most likely the Holy Spirit) tells me to be gracious because I likely don’t understand what’s happening in that person’s life. Same goes for me in this concussion recovery: I can look my normal self, but truth be known, I’m struggling with energy & sometimes my thoughts are fuzzy.
Many times I find that we are compassionate most often when we learn about a struggle a person might be going through. I would like be compassionate without a reason but because that’s who I am, a reflection of our compassionate Heavenly Father.
Recently, I’ve been somewhat frustrated with one of my friends because they’ve made some very silly decisions that have had some fairly negative consequences. I find myself being impatient with my friend & wanting them to change. I’m trying to watch the words that I say to my friend, so that I don’t hurt their feelings due to my impatience. So far, here’s my impatience insights:
if impatience is left unchecked, it can be very destructive
impatience isn’t only related to our words, but it also can affect our attitudes & actions, so that even if we don’t say anything, we must still remain vigilant against even its subtle expression
sometimes it helps to talk about how we feel, but its important to be responsible for our own feelings & not give someone else control of how we may feel or act
sometimes the best antidote to impatience is a slow, intentional & methodical application of patience
James 1:4 – let patience have her perfect work so that you may be mature & complete. Give patience permission to work in your life 🙂
We visited the Cubal malnutrition clinic today & this has brought back some difficult memories from our visit last year, when Angelina died even though we had donated blood to help her improve. I visited the same room as well as others & met some very wonderful moms & grandmothers. Many of these women are nothing less than heroes. Yesterday I met a grandma who was vigilantly watching over her granddaughter. The grandmother is very uneducated but her tenacity & fight to help her granddaughter to live is something I won’t forget. There is a rugged & timeless determination in her cloudy eyes to keep her grand daughter alive, perhaps due to the many family deaths through which she has already lived.
Saving Moses is bringing life, hope & future to Angola – I experienced this today.