One would think that it is not too difficult of a task to just sit back and listen. I am sure that we have all dealt with this from others in the past. You were having a discussion with someone about a topic and the response you would get from the other party within the discussion would have you thinking “this person is not listening to me!” I get it. There is nothing more frustrating than feeling unheard. Your thoughts and feelings may be completely invalidated because the other person is refusing to just hear you out. My wife will sometimes come up to me and the first thing she will say to me before asking me a question or telling me whatever it she had planned to tell me is “Hear me out.” Granted, this was sometimes said because she already knew what my answer would be, but it is still a fair request. I should always be willing to hear her out. I should be willing to hear everyone out.
James 1:19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
In my example above, my wife had already anticipated that I would quickly cut her off as she begins to ask the question. My answer will be coming from my mouth as she is making her request or asking her question. This should not be the case between anyone, spouses, especially Christians. We should always be willing to hear people out. The reason why this is important will be addressed as we continue our study. It is important to note what James says further in the context. This will help us better understand the principle of being ready to hear.
James 1:20-21 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
If we are not actively listening when the truth is being presented to us, how can we come to know the truth? Jesus tells us “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” – John 8:32. We will never know the truth if we are too busy not hearing it. Think about those moments when you are trying to talk to someone about obeying the Gospel, but they are too busy interrupting you while you make your point. Allow me to give you an example below…
Person A: The Bible says in Acts 2:38 “Repent and each one of you be baptized…” – got cut off.
Person B: I don’t care what that says, my “Pastor” told me that I was saved at the point of my faith!!!
Person B may have never read the whole verse of Acts 2:38 and instead of being intellectually honest, patient, and hearing Person A out – They cut them off and said that they don’t care. This kind of hearing is not good, and nobody is encouraged to behave this way.
1 Peter 1:22-23 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
How do people obey the truth? They have to listen! What are they listening to? Peter tells us that the seed is the word of God. These people have planted the seed (the word of God), in their lives. Paul mentions this very principle in Romans 10:14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
1 John 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
Now some people will try to conclude that this seed here in 1 John 3, is divine nature. This is simply not true, and Peter helps us understand that the seed in 1 John 3 is the same thing he talks about. It is the word of God. To fully understand this principle, we need to go back to 1 John 1.
1 John 1:1,3 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life – what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too many have fellowship with us;
Jesus said “Hear and understand”, He went to the synagogue teaching others (required listening), and would teach His disciples in parables (required listening). John is telling us that the things that they saw and heard, they are proclaiming the exact same things and it is because of these things that they can be made right with God.
Proverbs 19:20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.
More often than not, people do not want to accept accountability for their actions. The idea of listening is good but that only applies to others.
Proverbs 18:13 He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him.
The Bible makes is very clear that we need to listen. We need to be ready to always hear the truth.
by Lee Elkins