Ever play the game called “Telephone”? A person starts and whispers a phrase to the person next to them. This person, in turn, whispers the same phrase to the person next to them. This continues with all the people are participating, the more the better. Finally, the last person who hears this phrase has to recite it out loud to everyone who can hear. The results are usually hilarious as the original phrase is often distorted and completely unlike the original phrase both in sound, meaning or intent.
When we listen to others, it is sometimes like that. We hear what we want to hear. Sometimes it leads to frustration on both speaker and listener. This is why it is always a good practice for the listener to repeat what they think the speaker is saying. In a group discussion or one on one counseling, the listener is rightly taught to say, “Let me repeat what I think I am hearing from you.” This simple action can avoid endless hours of frustration due to misunderstanding and makes listening an interactive process.
Hear this now, O foolish people, Without understanding,
Who have eyes and see not, And who have ears and hear not.
When we listen to God’s Word being preached or read to us, we must also guard against hearing what we only want to hear. In the passage cited above, the prophet Jeremiah is reminding the children of Israel that God is explicit in warning them to not follow after false gods. He is patient with them and the punishment and judgment that is now befalling them is because they heard God’s warning but just saw and heard what they wanted to believe. If we take this attitude, we may be able to get by with minimal consequences with our friends and family. But there is no second guessing God. God means what He says and we need to carefully listen and be attentive whenever God speaks to us. Actively listen and be willing to seek advice from your pastor or others who may be more knowledgeable in the Bible. But always test what they are saying against the Truth of God's Word.
Are you carefully listening to God speaking to you today?
Love and respect the Lord; seek His will in your life.