Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. Human anger does not achieve God’s righteous purpose.
James 1:19-20 (GNT)
I had an interesting conversation with my neighbor this summer. Her son was staying with her for a few days and really struggling with what to do with his life. In typical Gerry – fashion, I went into my fix-it mode and quickly gave her some advice. With tears in her eyes, she said, “Gerry, I just want you to listen and not try to fix it.”
Wow! Her comment stopped me cold and I realized she was so right. How often do I want to get on to the next thing rather than focusing on the person in front of me, listening to her pain? I decided to really pay attention to this lesson and be “quick to listen.” I appreciated her honesty which is what I really want from a friend.
We are headed to another election season with all the probability that friends and families will be divided as we have experienced in the past. I was listening to a podcast by Trey Gowdy today. He has been in the political arena but has chosen to leave that for other endeavors, but he is a good source for balancing rhetoric and facts. He made a statement that I had to write down: Prioritize the relationship over the issue. One more time: Prioritize the relationship over the issue.
As one who has spent many years battling for the right and good of various issues in the political arena, I have at times, chosen the issue over the relationship. I have not been slow to speak and have become angry. It reminds me of some advice I have given my granddaughters when they were little: People are more important than things. When it is all about us, that is when the anger is so easily stirred up. And God’s purpose is missed and distorted.
We have a choice to make over the next few months. I would urge you to listen more. Have compassion for the person who has an idea that is totally opposite to your own. Hear the heart of the one speaking. You may have to agree to disagree but do it agreeably. The end goal is the relationship. God will take care of the election.