Thursday, May 25, 2006

Men Don't Listen - Part III

Part I is here.

Part II is here.

Wise Men Listen Carefully Before Answering

1) Fools spout off before they have heard everything...

  • Proverbs 18:2 “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,but only in expressing his opinion.”
  • Proverbs 18:13 “If one gives an answer before he hears,it is his folly and shame.”
  • James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”

2) Wise men understand that there is almost always more to the issue than just what is presented:

  • Proverb 14:15 “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.”

3) Wise men seek to dive into the deep waters of a brother’s heart and draw out the real issues of life:

  • Proverbs 18:4 “The words of a man's mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.”
  • Proverbs 20:5 “The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

I would suggest that in our culture this “drawing out” most often involves asking questions of the person we are talking with. When is the last time someone asked you personal questions beyond a surface level and actually dug deep into your life? For many of us, this may not have happened for months or years.

I am often shocked by how few people will simply ask questions of others. I have been in group settings for hours where not one person has asked me anything past "name, rank and serial number." Men are quite excellent at this and most often with their wives and children.

I think you need to think of relationships like fishing (and I HATE fishing - sorry, Ruminator!)... but one way to love people is to fish around their souls. You will have to drop a few lines, may lose some bait, perhaps have to wait hours, may catch nothing... but you stay at it.

How many dads have given up on teens that "won't talk?"

Maybe they would if you tried a little harder and waited a little longer?

4) Finally, the wise man tests what is said against the Truth of the Word – not against his experiences or gut feelings – and thinks of what Truth might apply to this brother in this time:

  • Proverbs 15:28 “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”