Wisdom Wednesday – Listen Before You Lecture (Proverbs 18:2)

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Proverbs 18:2 “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”

Do you hear what others have to say before you give your opinion?

Do you only pause in a conversation to plan what you’ll say next?

Would you say you’re a good listener?

If not, you may be a fool.

Simply put, a fool is someone who’s is characterized by not being teachable. Whether it’s out of ignorance or deliberate decisions, they resist listening and learning from others. Ultimately, it’s because they think they know what’s best.

Are you foolish when it comes to listening?

Take a moment to reflect on the two areas this shows up most.

Our relationship with others

Do you listen well to other people?

I have a friend named Zach Schlegel who’s a wonderful listener. He’s a humble brother who loves other people and it shows by the way he regularly asks questions and listens to people’s responses. When I get done spending time with Zach, I feel refreshed because I know he’s listened to me and actually cares about what I’m saying. That quality makes someone a good friend and a good spouse.

Are you a good listener?

This morning I met with a brother and during our conversation I found myself interrupting him. I must have done it 3 or 4 times. I wasn’t listening well, but rather I was processing my thoughts and looking for an opportunity to spit them out. I was acting foolish.

Listening well to others is always important, particularly in conflict. A regular exercise we use in marriage counseling is for me to ask a wife to summarize what she sees as an area of struggle in their marriage. When she’s done, I ask her husband to summarize what she has just said. Very often he’ll give it a go and then I’ll ask his wife if he was understanding her. Most guys fail the first few times…because they aren’t listening.

Do you take pleasure in understanding?

If not, you might be a fool.

Our relationship with God.

Do you listen to God?

How do you begin your day?

Is it in a humble posture of coming to the Lord and asking Him to speak to you through His word and through prayer?

Do you meet with God before you meet with other people?

One of my mentors, Tommy Nelson, used to say that “if you don’t pray or read your Bible it’s because you have more confidence in your ability to run your life than you do in God’s ability to run your life.”

Do you listen regularly to God?

Or do you try to make it through life on distant conversations you’ve had with Him in the past?

Is His Word fresh on your heart each day?

If not, you might be a fool.

Do you ever get away?

Just you and Jesus?

Is the only quiet you ever have when you lock yourself in the bathroom?

The devil’s greatest tool is distraction. He wants our minds cluttered and lives busy with things to do, things to say, and things to keep your attention.

When was the last time you really stepped away for more than 30 minutes into a place where it was just you and God and His Word?

No people. No phone. No texts. No Tweets. No Facebook. No email. No TV. No radio.

Just you and God, alone – with ears and heart attentive.

Do you take pleasure in understanding what He has to say to you?

If not, you might be a fool.

Let’s not be foolish. Listen to others, listen to God. You’ll increase the likeliness that you’ll have something good to say.

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