What deception can come from listening?

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

James 1:22

Listening without practical application is worse than not listening at all, because it turns the words from something received, regarded, respected and responded to into a loose collection of ideas that we have no obligation to. Consider this: if it was possible to read something and have the full use of it, you wouldn’t have to get the box back out of the trash three times whenever you make something new from a mix!

Jokes aside, the act of listening alone can lower the value of something. When we listen to children as noise and not as people, our responses to them are meaningless, curt or even cruel. They learn exactly how much we value them by how well we listen. But when we listen to them with intent to understand and respond, they learn that they are worth listening to, they learn how to speak to get answers that are clear, and they learn the kindness of attention.

If we can understand that when applied to a child or ourselves, think about your conversation with God. Are you merely hearing? Or do you listen in order to learn how to respond to what he is saying?

Ethan Kirl