Footsteps in Faith: Seek to listen before responding

| May 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Maj.) Jeff Bartels
25th Sustainment Brigade
25th Infantry Division
A Kish tablet, which was discovered in the ancient Sumerian city of Kish, has inscriptions considered by some experts to be the oldest form of known writing.

While you may not have heard or even seen of this type of tablet, I suspect there are some other “communication devices” within your home that facilitate the way knowledge and information is gathered.
Many homes today have upwards of 10 different devices to communicate and become aware of the latest in news, sports, weather and, of course, social media.

But did you ever stop to consider what is truly heard or understood using that device?

Over the years experts have theorized that humans learn more through nonverbal communication than verbal and perhaps even written communication. Consider the time and energy spent using an array of devices in order to get a message across, almost unfathomable, right? All the while, a simple walk across the hall or a drive down the street to engage in a face-to-face conversation and voilà, clear signals.

A favorite passage of mine, James 1:19, states, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”

What a timeless message, listen first, then speak, articulately trying not to become irritated or enraged.

This profound passage is a true reminder of how very important it is to actively listen to the message communicated. Upon reception, an obligation is then offered, which enables the receiver to provide an appropriate response.

What is pivotal in the three-fold passage? Listening and responding. That last part, suppressing anger, while important, can certainly be accomplished if the intended communication is collected appropriately and then understood in kind with a supportive response.

Good communication requires superior listening skills and responses. (courtesy photo)

So, here’s a little test to take: Next time you have a conversation with someone or hear a report or read a few blurbs from the latest social media site, ask yourself what’s being communicated? Then, consider a paraphrase of the communication in order to provide clarity to the sender’s intent.

I suspect this simple test may prove alarming for those who dare take the challenge. If not, certainly don’t get angry. Just reconsider the opportunity to rein in good communication.

Remember, the essence of good communication can produce better temperaments, which in turn can reduce any tensions and instill a healthier perspective.

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Category: Standing Columns

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