Skip to main content

No walls allowed

The quiet words of the wise are more effective than the ranting of a king of fools. Wisdom is better than warheads, but one hothead can ruin the good earth. (Ecclesiastes 9:17-18 MSG)

Richard Nixon was the 34th President of these United States of America. As President, he didn't fare too well, making a name for himself as the first President to actually resign from office - not really because he wanted to, but the mess of Watergate created the exact framework whereby he felt there was no other option. Although we always remember the negatives of his term in office, maybe we'd do well to consider these words he so aptly said, "We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another - until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices." Stop - listen - really hear one another. That is the essence of what he said - no voice needs to be raised to be heard - for hearing begins not in the volume attained, but in the heart attitude assumed on the part of the one listening!

One "hothead" can ruin a good thing all around. It doesn't take much to change the mood in a group, does it? The very dropping of a few words not thought through very well before speaking can shut doors, create chaos, and shatter dreams easier than we might imagine. The attitude of heart makes all the difference, not just on the part of the one attempting to hear, but also on the part of the one attempting to communicate. The room we make in our heart for God makes the difference in the "room" our heart finds for the otherwise "intolerable" actions and words of others.

The "room" we give for God needs to be foremost in our actions, which come from having our attitude adjusted by the heart of Christ beating within us. When we give him his rightful place, we have little room for unkindness, harmful slander, or even prideful boasting. The difference is that Christ gives us ears to hear and a heart to respond, not with anger or contempt, but with understanding and true desire to maintain relationship. 

Over many years, and through many word not well chosen, mankind has built up walls that are now very hard to ever scale, much less tear down. I read a book recently about the bringing down of the Berlin Wall. What started as a barbed-wire barricade eventually became this formidable cement and block structure, complete with guard towers and a series of twelve checkpoints that kept people from passing freely beyond or within those walls. Effectively, this is what the words which are spoken in haste can do within our lives. They erect "prickly" defenses that eventually become formidable barriers, making it difficult for any purposeful exchange to occur.

As we begin our new year, let us consider well the heart we maintain, for that heart determines the ability we have to "hear" beyond the words! Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…