Patient Listening
October 29, 2018

Patient Listening

How are we at taking constructive criticism? When someone says something, are we quick to defend our actions and state our case, or will we patiently listen to see what the Lord might be saying, even if the criticism is false or way off base?

When we quickly defend ourselves, not letting others even finish their sentence, then we run the risk of them never saying anything at all.

This was Eliphaz’s point when addressing Job’s comments.

Job just finished lamenting over his situation, wishing that he had never been born. And while he longed for death due to his afflictions, it never came.

Eliphaz now wants to say something, but wonders if Job will listen, if Job would be patient enough to listen without butting in.

“If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? But who can keep from speaking?” (Job 4:2)

In the Hebrew language this was a gentle and polite apology, but one that holds significance. We must be willing to listen. In James 1:19-20, the Apostle says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

When people come with their advice do we react becoming impatient? Instead we need to show patience and not become offended letting others have their say, even if it is wrong, even if it makes no sense.

We need to take it to prayer and give it to the Lord asking Him what needs to be taken to heart, and what needs to be tossed. As someone said, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”

However, we must speak up when God is being blasphemed or charged with injustice, when souls are at stake, or a reputation is being ruined.

So our prayer should be, “Lord, help us to have ears to hear, not only to what others say, but what the Holy Spirit is speaking.”

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