UCOG Blog Logo
News and views from the German-language region of Europe

January 23, 2015

Are we good listeners?

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

As one of eight children I sometimes had difficulty making myself heard. My brothers (six of them) and my sister wanted to say something, too. So my mom would say: "You have twice as many ears as mouths, maybe you should listen more."

I thought my mom came up with this saying, but the Greek philosopher Zenon, who lived some 400 years before Christ's birth, is reported to have said: "We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we speak."

Of course, two ears complete our God-intended ability to hear and are not a biological tip on the numerical superiority of listening as opposed to speaking. Nonetheless, the ability to listen is a very important characteristic.

When married couples divorce, they list the reasons for their divorce. One of the reasons mentioned often is the lack of communication between the marriage partners. That doesn't mean that one or both of them has suddenly become mute, unable to speak. It is more likely the case that they don't (want to) listen to each other anymore.

In one of his many Western movies American movie star John Wayne said: "You are short on ears and long on mouth."

In his book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" American motivational author Stephen Covey wrote: "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply."

The Bible emphasizes the importance of listening: "He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him" (Proverbs 18:13). Why should we listen? "The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge" (verse 15).

The apostle James exhorts us: "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (James 1:19).

The ability and willingness to listen is one of several ways we can love our neighbor as we do ourselves. I didn't understand that in my childhood.

And being able to listen – to God – is essential for anyone desiring to have a positive relationship with his creator.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


internal links:


search blog: