All ears!

My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to be angry.
James 1:19

Dear readers,


"God has placed our ears so that no one can actually sit on them," the Evangelist Wolfgang Dyck said. It is an everyday experience that everyone knows: my dear fellow human beings do not listen to me correctly, they sit "on their ears" or only listen with "half an ear". What I say seems to go in one ear and out of the other.


It doesn´t surprise that James writes of listening and outburst. Anyone who falls on deaf ears can be the last straw. Teachers know that. Educators and parents too. And sometimes this will happen to married couples ...


Our relationships are based on talking and listening to each other. And listen well! Relationships become ill when no one listens to another. If two of them do not listen, then at some point they have nothing more to say.


Listening properly means actively listening. The eye contact is also very important. What facial expression does my counterpart have? What signal are the eyes, the corners of the mouth speeking? Joy or disappointment?


It´s respectful to do not interrupt the other. It is disrespectful, if I place my interlocutor as stupid and let only apply my own opinion. And certainly it is not allowed to replace arguments with loudness.

Listening well, that can be really difficult. Not only in direct conversation but also in social networks. I enjoy communicating with WhatsApp with my family and friends. Often I add an emoticon to it. It helps me to express my facial expressions, my mood with it. That's how many people feel. Every day 6 billion emoticons are to be exchanged, I read.


How difficult is listening to God?


“In the beginning was the one who was called the word. The word was with God and was truly God” the apostle John writes. So his gospel of Jesus Christ is starting. “The word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only son of Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us.” (John 1, 1 + 14)


God is speaking through his son Jesus Christ. HE is the word of God. I like to listen to him. I like to read in the bible. By doing this I want to pay attention to a few rules of modern communication:


1. I listen to God's Word without prejudice. Even if others have said it negatively - I want to form my own opinion. I do not put God's Word in the drawer, other give me.

2. I let myself be corrected by God's word. Maybe I was wrong with my view so far! What if God's Word is right and I am wrong?

3. I do not fight with my interlocutor, the word of God. It is not my opponent, my enemy. God's Word wants to help me. Because God loves me. He talks to me with love.

4. If the Word of God convinces me then I may change my mind. I do not have to stay stubborn with my previous attitude. God's Word can turn a Saul to a Paul. I allow changes in my thinking.

5. I ask if I did not understand something. I'm looking for answers. I trust in the promise of Jesus: “Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you.” (Matthew 7:7). I may ask if I did not understand something!


Listening to God, that can be very exciting. I discovered a beautiful phrase from the Benedictine Kyrilla Spiecker: “If you have your ear on God's Word long enough, you can hear his heart beating.”

A beautiful thought that I can hear God's heartbeat! The heartbeat of God is Jesus Christ. He himself is the living Word of God. Whoever hears him knows what God's heart beats for you, for me. For our families, for our friends, also in the social networks. And, of course, for our world!


How about not only showing your friends an emoticon, but also God? From time to time to paint an emoticon next to the word of God in the Bible? Show HIM what moves your heart while listening! Try it!

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© 2021 Hans-Peter Nann, Frankfurt am Main