By Dr. Dianne Coflin
I recently spent some time with an elderly woman who is very hard of hearing. On my part, I found myself having to repeat everything I said frequently, due to her hearing loss. Of course, on her part she was frustrated. Hearing aids are helpful, but her hearing loss is considerable. We went shopping together and as we were going through the checkout line; another woman who was pushing her walker and dragging a roller chair approached us. She asked if she could just get the clerks attention to see if it was okay to leave the chair there while she finished shopping. I said of course, and she went ahead of us. However, my friend did not hear what she said and was immediately offended because she thought the lady was ignoring us and pushing her way ahead in the line.
Why is this story important? I’m glad you asked. In Matthew 11:15 (AMPC) Jesus was teaching the disciples and said, “He who has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him consider and perceive and comprehend by hearing.” How important is it to hear with both physical and spiritual ears? My friend misses out on so much because of her hearing loss and she becomes increasingly frustrated and misinterprets events that are happening all around her. She is unable to consider and perceive because of her hearing.
I wonder when we are not listening with an ear to hear the Lord through His Word and fellowship with him, do we greatly diminish our understanding and perceptions of those things that happen around us either through events or relationships?
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to lead us and guide us into truth (reality). His fellowship provides clarity. Jesus said in John 10:27 AMPC “My sheep that are my own hear and are listening to MY voice; and I know them, and they follow me.” If we don’t have an ear to hear as we are so often exhorted to do in the scriptures we will miss out on direction, we’ll miss out on fellowship and when we miss out on fellowship, we misunderstand God’s heart. When we misunderstand God’s heart, we can become offended, and the result is a disconnect with Him in our relationship. The same principle works with natural relationships, friends, family, co-workers and so on.
My friend’s perception of the events taking place in my story above was skewed, through no fault of her own. I wonder how many events we misinterpret because we don’t have ears to really hear and discern the truth. In James 1:19 (AMPC) it says, “Understand this, my beloved brethren, Let every man be quick to hear (a ready listener) slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.” This tells me that listening with an ear to hear, even beyond one’s tone of voice facilitates better communication and understanding. Have you ever been talking with someone and instead of really listening you are already trying to wait for them to stop speaking so that you can give your thoughts on a matter? Most likely you missed out on really hearing, considering, perceiving, and comprehending what was said. Surely this is why we are exhorted to be swift to hear but slow to speak, as we may have missed entirely what was truly being said.
I encourage you today, slow down pray for an ear to hear, not only from the Lord but with others.
Have a blessed day. Food for thought.
Dr. Dianne Coflin Co-Pastor River of Life Church 410 East Chapman Rd. Lutz, Florida. Our services are 10:30 Sunday Morning and Wednesday Night 7:30. Childcare provided. We would love to have you visit with us.