I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Seeking to Understand

My home church pastor has a great saying when advising people how to deal with others:

"Seek first to understand, not to be understood."

I have a somewhat thick head, and that has not really sunk in, no matter how many times I've heard it. For me, I always have my agenda in the back of my mind. So regardless of the circumstances, whom I speaking with, etc. I am always forming my response while the other person is talking.

I am so selfish.

I am not one to abide back talk from my children, and in the process, sometimes I impart discipline and judgment on a situation before I really know what's going on, based on what looks like happened.

Sometimes I don't listen to why the Prince tells me no, I just shut him off when I hear (or in our case see) those words. It doesn't matter to me 'why'. I didn't get what I wanted, and so I don't need to hear any more.

Sometimes a friend (or God's Word) will reveal sin to me that I need to deal with, and before I hear them out fully, I have already (in my mind) begun to justify myself and my actions.

I am so selfish.

What I need to start doing more of, is listening the way I want someone to listen to me. I need to hold my thoughts and judgments and opinions to myself until I am:

a. Sure I know what the other person is trying to say.
b. Asked to offer an opinion, judgment, etc.
c. Ready to share something that will edify the person, no matter the situation.
d. Not just firing back a quick response, but really sure what I will say has value.

As I was meditating on this issue, I Corinthians 13 popped up in my mind. Especially these verses:
(4) Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, (5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil:"

When I am truly showing love to the person with whom I am talking, I will employ the things listed in these verses. I will not be impatient for them to finish their thought. I will not proclaim my own goodness and pride. I will not behave in an unseemly way by interrupting or trying to put forth my ideas even when I have not been asked. I will not be easily provoked to wrath, and will think no evil of the person, but rather ask the Lord how to deal with the situation.

When I am quick to respond, even when I have been in the Word and close to the Lord, I am doing it in my own strength. How many times have I said something, or advised someone, only later to have the Lord give me better thoughts to share? What's wrong with asking Him first before responding? He knows what the other person is trying to say, and can help me be a better wife, mom, friend, and Christian by waiting on Him.

The Lord has been revealing to me how selfish I am in regards to my time and wanting to get a point across, even before the other person has stopped talking. Such a simple concept, but so hard to put into practice!

"Seek first to understand, not to be understood."


  • Erin

    Good stuff! I am often thinking of the next thing I am going to say and not loving by listening. Thanks for the thoughts on this important subject!

  • Giovanna

    I am bad about this with my husband especially.
    Sometimes we tend to dismiss the people closest to us because we think we know them well enough to just get it without the words being said by them. But most of the times, people just want to be heard. Even if we already know what or why they are going to say something.

    We are all selfish to some extent, I wish it wasn't something I have to work on with the Lord, but unfortunately it is. Thanks and God bless.

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