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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: Listen as in… “be quick to listen and slow to speak.”

I’m guessing, of course, but there’s a good chance that most of us are more apt to get this twisted up. We’re far more inclined to be quick to speak and slow to listen. Even with our closest friends, most of us would rather talk first and then listen, if we’re willing to listen at all. That’s when it’s good to remember that we’ve been given two ears and one mouth for a good reason: to listen twice as much as we speak. When we don’t listen to that wisdom, things quickly go south.

Think for a minute about what is gained by taking an extra moment or two between listening and speaking. For instance, recall conversations you’ve been in that have escalated into arguments. You know the moment when things become dicey, don’t you? The conversation is getting heated—and it’s heating up because everyone is speaking, and no one is listening.

I usually stop listening because I’m so busy thinking about crafting my next really awesome sentence. And when I stop listening because I’m creating a clever and insightful statement, there’s no way on God’s green earth that I will hear you, let alone honor you and your role in the conversation. Unfortunately, this often happens when we discuss things we’re passionate about, like sexuality, religion, spirituality, politics, justice, peace, church doctrine, and climate change. Gun violence. Whole30. I’ve got a perspective! You’ve got a perspective! And when we talk about those differing perspectives, we’re usually quick to speak and slow to listen, and that’s when trouble starts and conversations come to a grinding halt.

A lot is happening in our world right now; issues stir our thinking, ignite our passions, and draw our ire. Finding common ground is difficult. Add to that the fact that we don’t always know how to talk through things about which we disagree. What to do? Let me suggest three things. First, let’s take a big deep breath. Second, let’s count to ten. Third, let’s listen to each other.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.


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