HEARTLIGHTSpecial Feature







Do You Hear Me?, by Grant MacDonald

    Did you hear me? Are you listening to me? Did you hear what I said? Would you just listen for a moment? Listen up! Have any of these phrases ever been fired your way? Have you ever been on the phone with someone you didn’t particularly want to talk to only to realize you’ve just been asked a question that you have no idea how to answer because you’ve been mentally rearranging your sock drawer for the last 10 minutes or so? Have you ever put your mind on autopilot and just mumbled the occasional “Yes, Dear?” If you have, tell me what it’s like because I’d like to know!

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt got tired of smiling and saying the usual small talk that takes place at a White House reception. So, one evening he decided to find out whether anybody was paying attention. When anyone came up to him with their hand extended, he flashed a smile and said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” People would automatically respond with comments like “How lovely!” or “Keep up the great work!” Nobody listened, except one foreign diplomat. When the president said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning,” the diplomat responded softly, “I’m sure she had it coming to her.”

    Listening is hard work, isn’t it? To really listen, to really hear, to really understand, a lot of energy has to be expended. It takes much more energy listening than it does speaking, doesn’t it? Perhaps that’s why I’ve met a lot more people who were infinitely better at talking than they were at listening.

    Now, I might be oversimplifying things a little, but I think most of the problems we have in this tired old world of ours can be attributed to the fact that we just aren’t listening to each other any more. Problems in the home, problems in the office, problems in the Church, problems in the nation, international disputes, have all either begun, or been made nastier because someone didn’t want to listen.

Listening is hard work, isn’t it?
    Now what do I mean by listening? To listen is to HEAR, UNDERSTAND, and RESPOND to what someone else is saying. Let me give you an example from Scripture: In Romans 10:17, Paul tells us, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

    Interestingly, faith comes from hearing the message. I’ve shared the gospel with lots of people who never really heard it. In my case, I had several people tell me that I needed to know Jesus, before I ever heard what they were saying. When I heard, I responded. I believed, I repented, I submitted to the waters of baptism, I accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and I recognized Him as the Lord of my life. Hearing or listening always demands a response based upon the message of what we’ve heard. So to listen is to understand and respond. Again, let me ask you: How well do you listen? How good is your hearing?

    When your husband, wife, son, daughter, parents talk to you, do you really listen? Do you seek to understand their joy, their frustration, their pain? Do you respond? Do you “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15), or do you just nod your head as the words bounce off your brain? Or, worse yet, do you give advice when all that’s really needed is a hug?

    What about your spiritual walk? When was the last time you really heard the Holy Spirit and got down on your knees and responded, as you read the Word of God? When was the last time you really heard a sermon, and were convicted and responded to the message in a positive way? I think it’s time that we as Christians learn to talk less and listen more! Do you hear what I’m saying?


Used by permission of Grant's Graceland—we continue to be appreciative and amazed at the quality and diversity of this wonderful Internet offering by a cyberfriend we've never personally met but for whom we've developed a sense of joyful kinship.


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Article copyright © 1997, Grant MacDonald, Grant's Graceland. Used with permission.
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