On being quick to hear

I haven’t had a whole lot to say lately…and I don’t really have much to say today.  But I just wanted to share this verse that I’ve been thinking on this week:


Our life group is reading through the book of James together…digging deep and really studying it.  When I read this verse, I got hung up a bit on it.

Because the world has been loud lately.  Really loud.

This broken and bleeding world has been crying out, yelling out, screaming so loud it is sometimes hard to hear anything.  Crisis upon crisis…injustice upon injustice.  Lives lost, nations at war, arguing and bickering and chaos erupting.  It’s easy to just want to shut it all off, and tune it all out…to deny and ignore.

That’s what I usually do.  I’m typically a quiet person anyway…an introvert who avoids conflict like the plague.  So when others are loud, I usually just stay quiet.  I say nothing.

But silence is not the same as hearing.

I may be quiet, but am I really listening?

“Be quick to hear…”

The Message puts it this way: “Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue”

What does that mean, to lead with your ears?  What does that look like in day-to-day life…in this broken and loud world…in the middle of chaos and emotionally-charged problems?

I’m not entirely sure…I’m still figuring it out.

But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean to just be quiet and ignore problems.  I do think it means that it’s important to take the time to slow down and listen first.  To lead with my ears.  Not with my mouth, or my opinions, or even my eyes….but my ears.

Listen to someone enough…I mean really listen, really hear them…and you begin to see them as God sees them. Take the time to really hear them, and you start to really see them.  Because everyone has a story.  Every person is a soul created by God, loved by God, valued by God….and every soul, every single one, can be redeemed by God.

Those who are hurting…need someone to hear them.

Those who are crying out…need someone to hear them.

Those who are abused and neglected and treated unfairly…need someone to hear them.

The orphans, the widows, the homeless, the sick…need someone to hear them.

Those whose hearts have been broken and whose lives have been shattered and whose innocence has been stolen…they need someone to really hear them.

This world is really loud.  It’s hard to hear.  Hearing takes time and patience and empathy and humility.  And it takes love.  Because listening is a kind of loving…and when we are quick to hear, when we lead with our ears, we can follow up with our tongues with words of love that can build bridges and mend hurts and turn hearts to Jesus.

And the amazing grace of it is…sometimes it ends up being our own hearts that get changed and healed when we slow down and lead with our ears.  I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not know it all…I have my own tinted lenses through which I see the world…and by listening to others, sometimes it’s my own perspective that changes, my own heart that gets moved, my own eyes that are opened.

Because when I take time to really hear, that’s when I really start to see.


{ If you would like to print this verse and have it as a reminder, I’ve made it into a little printable for you to enjoy.  Just click the link below! }

James One Nineteen 5×7 Printable

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One thought on “On being quick to hear

  1. […] I even wrote a little about it back in August…and ever since then I just keep circling back to it. […]

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