SOURCE: Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 165
“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of
God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17
Good listening is particularly important for a peacemaker.
It improves your ability to understand others, it shows that you realize you do not have all the answers, and it tells the other person that you value his or her thoughts and opinions. Even if you cannot agree with everything others say or do, your willingness to listen demonstrates respect and shows that you are trying to understand their perspective.
Kids hear everything–things under their beds at night, an animal in distress blocks away, whispered conversations between Mom and Dad. There is something about childhood that invites listening. Maybe it’s a feeling that we might miss something if we don’t listen, and we surely don’t want to miss anything. But often as we grow up, we put away childish and childlike things in the same trip to the curb. And we’re not as concerned about missing something anymore; we’ve pretty much seen it all. At least we think we have.
We’ve pretty much got it all figured out, and so we make judgment calls on everything from political policy to personal motives. We never pause to consider the limits on our perspective; we just go right on in, where angels fear to tread.
But to walk humbly with our God means realizing that we don’t know everything and we don’t even want to; figuring everything out means the story is over. It also means approaching each living, breathing soul in our lives with wonder, for they have been fashioned by the hands of God himself. It means stopping and looking and listening, but maybe listening even more than looking.
A little more listening might open the door to peace between feuding spouses or church members. It could even begin the sowing of seeds of peace in the body of Christ.
Open the ears of our hearts, Lord; we surely don’t want to miss your voice!