Do you feel or think you have been heard? Does anyone? It seems that it is becoming more and more a rare experience, even among people we know well. I sometimes feel frustration when in on news programs people with opposing views do not listen to one another except to somehow support their position. It gets especially wearisome when they start talking over one another.
Recently, while counseling a couple, it became apparent they were talking past each other. Their talking was not dialogue, just two monologues. What do I mean? Dialogue basically means to “talk through”. Monologue means only one is talking. Obviously, if there is to be common understanding, much less agreement and cooperation, we must talk through things. That means we get to speak, but we also need to listen.
For people who follow Jesus, we turn to the Bible for guidance in practical matters as well as those concerning our relationship with God. Proverbs is a book of wisdom on just about everything. There, in chapter 1 verse 5, is wise instruction on this topic of being heard. It says, “let the wise man listen and add to their learning, and the discerning get guidance…”
Why do we not listen? I think there are many reasons or factors. One is that our time to do so has become contracted. With the immediacy in the means of communication available to us, we expect answers to any inquiry to be almost instantaneous. By doing so, we do not invest in the time required for thought to consider each other’s statements.
Another reason may be arrogance. We may be guilty of assuming that nothing that could be shared would change our minds. Even though our basic belief or point may remain valid in our eyes, that doesn’t mean that the other party’s input would not give us some insight to better understand the topic being discussed.
The last factor that comes to my mind is place. Where can we meet to have dialogue that gives time and space and lack of distraction for people to enter into conversation where the goal is first real understanding and then reaching common accord? Even to the degree that gives parties freedom to say, “Huh, I’m not sure how to respond to that.” Or, “I need to think about.”, then come back another time to dialogue further. Does that place exist in Farmington?
I would like to know of such a place. If you know one, let me know. If you would like to have dialogue on any topic, I would welcome such an opportunity. Call the number for RiverStone Church, 327-0363. Let’s talk!