Listen

 

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When we answer before listening, we prove to others that we are both stupid and rude.
Dallas and Nancy Demmitt Can You Hear Me Now? (2003)

According to God, we are supposed to love everyone, even our enemies. Yet half the time we won’t even listen to our friendly acquaintances, much less our enemies.  When we tune people out, we are being very unloving. Yes, it can be hard to listen to your enemies, but how can we ever attempt to make peace if we don’t?

“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”
― Winston S. Churchill

No one knows everything, and everyone knows something.
I have to admit that I have from time to time tuned certain people out, assuming that they were either uninformed or misinformed. Which can be the case, but it is wrong to tune them out. There is one politician for example that has become famous precisely because she is under-informed and often seems to make up answers on the fly when she has no idea what she is talking about. Yet the other day she made a comment that was wildly intelligent, while I still believe she meant for her comment to be taken differently, she proved that she can be right. I even saw a video yesterday posted by a five-time felon who gave many people a lesson on tolerance. You never know where the truth will come from, but you have to keep your eyes and ears open to find it.

Proverbs 18:17
The first to state his case seems right
until another comes and cross-examines him.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Yes, we are to listen to others, but we should be discerning while we listen. No one is perfect but God. When anyone else tells you something it is proper to ask questions. Look into it for yourselves.

One of the best debate tactics is to find common ground with the person you are debating, and built on that common ground. Something like: Can we both agree that already born children are valuable? Can be a good foundation to build a discussion on abortion. If you are unwilling to listen to people who oppose your ideas, you will not be able to find common ground.

Sometimes we use phrases like “fake news” to shut people down. Do you really know that it is fake news, or do you like the opposing view so much that you just hope it is fake news? If you don’t know for sure, find out.  While some stories are fake, it isn’t the fact that we don’t like the story that makes it fake, it’s twisting the truth, one-sided bias, and it’s total failure to match reality.

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Legion of Troubles

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Poor Legion, he was the man possessed with so many demons in Mark 5:1-19  that his name was changed to reflect the number of demons that were tormenting him. He lived among the tombs, crying, and he regularly cut himself. He was strong enough to break any chains that the people used to try to control him. It is probably a safe bet to assume he did many other things, embarrassing and shameful things. Jesus delivered him from those demons, and he wanted to be with his deliverer. Yet, Jesus told him no. He had to go back to the people who probably hated and feared him for all of his behavior when he was still possessed. To anyone who became a Christian as an adult after doing many shameful things, this would be a tough thing to hear, and it is tough to live through. Knowing that you have changed but others around you refusing to give you a chance to be the person that you know you could be. We must look at this from a different perspective to understand why Jesus made him go back to his own town.
Jesus had been told he wasn’t wanted in town, by people who were both frightened by the power of someone who had control of demons, and they were mad at losing livestock. Yes, Jesus could have forced his way into town, but force isn’t exactly a good way of winning hearts and minds.  Yes, I am sure the former demoniac had trouble once he came back into town.  It would be incredibly difficult to trust him again, but even the most cynical of them will see him from afar and will have known that something phenomenal happened that day.  To those who have had the incredible difficulty of trying to convince people that you are better than you once were, I know that it is lonely, but keep up the good fight. Realize it or not, you are effecting change in the hearts of men. There are people around you wondering how you made the change that you made. God sees your struggles, and you will be rewarded one day.

The longest way around


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“The longest way round is the shortest way home.
Said by Alexander MacLaren, and quoted by C.S. Lewis

I didn’t read these words in context so my interpretation of these words may not be what either person had in mind.

When mapping out a long trip, it seems as if you should always go the straightest shortest path, but there is a problem with that path, cities get in the way, these cities have many stop signs, lights, and other roadblocks in the way, by the time you have handled the slower city traffic, you would have done better to take the longer path that bypasses the city.

We humans can be a hard-headed lot, once we make up our mind, getting us to change our mind is like a city traffic jam, we have so many things that get in the way, that a bypass would have been in order.

Bypassing the roadblocks that our mind puts up can be as simple as a good book, tv show, or movie. Stories about a Little Red Hen having to turn a wheat seed into a loaf of bread, all by herself, then eating it all by herself are more effective than having to explain to a child over and over again why they should help with the chores.

If you pay close attention many tv shows have used this technique to change the culture. Stories about aliens who are white on one side of their face and black on the other who fight each other to extinction, pepper our culture.  When Nichelle Nichols the black actress who played Nyota Uhura on Star Trek wanted to quit the show, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. talked her out of it, because as a black female on the bridge of a ship, she was having a huge effect on the culture.  She said that she wanted to march with him, He said, “‘No, no, no. No, you don’t understand. We don’t need you to march. You are marching. You are reflecting what we are fighting for.’”

C.S. Lewis did this very effectively when he wrote The Chronicles of Narnia there are multiple Christian ideas in those books, and many non-Christians who would never touch a Bible have enjoyed learning about these Christian concepts and those lessons that they learned in the story form a bypass in that person’s mind to make the Gospel easier to understand and accept.

Stories are important and effect this world more than most know.

I highly recommend that every Christian child and adult read the Chronicles of Narnia and other books by C.S. Lewis He changed the Christian Church and the world for the better.