I’m an impatient person. I like for someone speaking to me to get to the point. If it seems that they’re struggling to finish, I will interrupt that person. And when I interrupt that person, invariably I reach wrong conclusions about what he was trying to convey. Sometimes I am hurt, offended, or just put off by what I thought that person meant all because I didn’t wait for him to finish.
This scripture is informative: “Whoever gives an answer before he listens is stupid and shameful.” (Proverbs 18:13 GWT)
That is exactly how I feel. Once I finish my tirade based on what I thought he was saying and discover I was wrong, I feel so stupid. Have you ever heard the words, “let me finish” or “if you had let me finish, you would have known. . .” Over the years I have heard those words repeatedly.
Sometimes my interruptions have caused unnecessary, shameful arguments. But I was trying to move the conversation along at my pace unaware that the other person did not process information in the same way I did. I now realize that I caused more drama, made more mountains out of molehills, and only the grace of God in the other person allowed the relationship to continue. I was forgiven and now I can hear a firm voice say, “LISTEN.” Now I make meager strides to listen more carefully and interrupt more infrequently. Personal growth is learning process indeed.
Conversations, unlike a point guard pushing the ball down court, cannot be rushed. Those involved need to be both respected and affirmed; their thoughts matter. Listening reaffirms a person’s worth.
Prayer: Lord let me be “slow to speak, quick to hear, and slow to wrath.” Help me not to prejudge a matter. Please allow me hear the entire thoughts and intents of that person’s heart. Grace me with empathy and compassion I pray. Help me become a better listener, in Jesus Name, Amen.
One thought on “Don’t Interrupt Me; Listen”
Excellent article. We’ve just finished discussing this very issue this past weekend in our class on conflict resolution. Much can be gained in harmonizing relationships simply by taking the time to listen.