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.