Stop Talking, Start Listening

the LORD will receive me….. (Ps 27:10).

Ask any teenager and they’ll tell you one of their greatest fears is rejection. We all want to know that we will be received, no matter how messy our story has gotten. Sometimes when our story gets really messy we fear not being loved. We fear not being accepted, because the path we’ve walked down has become a little ugly.
One of the most beautiful gifts we can give someone is to sit and listen to their story without judgment or rejection. Sometimes we speak too quickly into a person’s life before we have properly cared for them as an individual. Since trust has not been established through caring for them as a person they feel misunderstood and rejected by us.
I am learning the value of listening better to hurting people. I am also understanding that before I speak into their lives I need to first care for them as a person. In doing this, I am receiving them with God’s grace. Rejection only exacerbates itself between us and them when we don’t listen and give reprove before it is earned.
The question then becomes, who have you hurt by speaking into their life too quickly? Who have you not properly cared for first before speaking a rebuke? When has listening become a burden to you because you have become annoyed by their need for a friend to listen and care for them?
I’m just speaking of the things I have seen in my own heart. I want Jesus to make me different. I want to better balance caring for people and speaking truth into their lives. I want to be the sweet aroma of Christ to them. I want them to taste and see that the Lord is good. I want them to experience His love through me.
Sometimes what God is asking us to do is keep our mouths shut. When we do this He can speak into their lives and the transformation is real. This doesn’t mean we neglect the person. We are still a presence in their life, but our role may look a little different than what we have practiced before. Instead of speaking as a broken record of rebuke and disapproval, we become a support for them. An encourager who believes in them to keep standing strong for God. As we do this God’s voice can finally speak and they know that we are receiving them just as God has received them as one of His beloved.
When a child or loved one stray it is easy to want to run after them to offer a stern rebuke. However, if rebuke is our only concern we will quickly push them away from us. Could it be that the best approach we can take is to show them Christ’s love by how we live and what we do? Could it be that our time is better spent in silence? If God is really who He says He is, then we can trust Him-period. God can speak through the mouth of a donkey, so surely, He can speak into their life without us feeling the need to do it for Him.
Lord, I want to love people like you. I know I have a very long way to go. I know that I’m still learning how to care well for people. Please show me where I have failed someone because of my lack of love and concern for them as an individual. Show me where I have let rebuke become more important than understanding and caring for their heart first. Jesus, forgive me. I want to be more like you, Amen.

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