Not LISTENING!!!

“I most certainly don’t want to hear THAT!” One of my kids said this to me a few days ago about a character flaw. We all have things that we don’t like or want to hear, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t need to hear these things.

Over the course of many years, I’ve had all kinds of feedback & input, some of which wasn’t kindly given & some of which was somewhere north of Jupiter, utter nonsense. However, I’m learning that negative feedback can often be more helpful than positive feedback, even when it’s given poorly or with unkind motives. We would be wise to remember that because our Heavenly Father loves us, He corrects & trains us not to be hurtful but rather to help us walk in the fullness of His design for us!
Remember Hebrews 12:5-6, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”

When Listening Isn’t Enough

I’m a big advocate of listening. I think it’s essential that we listen to our kids, our mate, our friends, teachers, supervisors, pastors, political candidates, etc. Listening helps us learn, develops patience & is an essential ingredient for connecting with people. But alas, we cannot emphasize listening at the expense of doing. 
This morning I read Jesus’ brief parable that contrasts a wise man with a foolish man, at the end of Matthew 8. In this contrast, Jesus explains that the wise man listens to God & acts upon what he hears. The foolish man, however, listens but doesn’t do anything. Let’s allow God’s Word to inform & shape our actions. Let’s be “doers” & not just listeners 🙂

hot topic: April Fools

Happy April 1st!  When I was younger, I looked forward to this day because I thoroughly enjoyed pulling pranks on unsuspecting victims and April Fools gave me the perfect excuse & opportunity.  Now that I’m a little older, I’m hopefully a little less foolish & I’m definitely less of a prankster.  But here are a few things that Proverbs has to say about fools and being foolish:

  • a fool always loses his temper – Prov 29:11
  • a fool returns to his folly as a dog returns to his vomit – Prov 26:11
  • fools are arrogant and careless – Prov 14:16
  • fools often think their way is always right – Prov 12:15

While it’s April Fools Day, lets consistently decide not to be foolish 🙂

the anger danger

I had an interesting experience a few days ago with a very unhappy person.  This person was extremely upset about a difficulty & she was upset beyond what the circumstances called for.  I began to think about the possible reasons why she could be over reacting:

  • maybe she was having a rough day,
  • maybe there are other pressures in her life where she vents her frustrations in unrelated  situations,
  • maybe she has some medical challenges that cause her to be easily upset
  • worst of all, maybe she is an angry person
There’s a difference between being angry about something & being an angry person.  One is based on situations but the other is an identity.  The person who finds their identity in anger brings dissension into his conversations & relationships based on Prov 29:22 & 15:18.  An angry person tends to lack control over their behaviors & conversations.  And an angry person, based on what Proverbs says, is a fool (29:11).
In contrast, a person who is slow to anger tends to have a better life – they have great understanding (14:29, 17:27), they’re not easily offended (they overlook offenses – 19:11), they have more self-control than an angry person and a person who is slow to anger is better than the mighty (16:32).
Let’s be angry for the right reasons (against injustices, wickedness & evil), but let’s not be angry people 🙂