"Listen first"

Former US President Franklin Roosevelt was not a fan of the long receiving lines he often endured at the White House. He complained that no one really paid any attention to what was said during the greet-fests. One day, he decided to try an experiment. To each person who came through the line to shake his hand, he murmured, "I murdered my grandmother this morning." The guests responded with phrases like, "Marvelous!" "Keep up the good work." "God bless you, sir."

Franklin Roosevelt's experiment was successful in proving his theory. It also underscored a sad reality: We often don't listen well.

Proverbs 18:13 warns that "spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish." Why? Because "the tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences" (v.21). For example, • Words can crush the spirit. And a crushed spirit is more unbearable than a sick body (v.14). • Words can separate friends. And an offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city (v.19).

Fortunately, the opposite is also true. Listen to these thoughts from Proverbs: • We must listen to facts. Learn with a discerning ear and ferret out the facts (v.13). • We must listen with open ears. Don't allow certain words and phrases to prejudice you from listening objectively. And don't avoid listening to things that you may feel are too difficult to understand (v.15). • We must listen to both sides of a dispute. It's foolish to jump to conclusions and rush to judgment; the wise take time to discern (v.17).

Take the time to truly listen to others today. , Poh Fang Chia, Our Daily Journey

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