WISE INTENTIONAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Volume 11, Number 11 – NOVEMBER, 2017
Welcome Friends. The two articles in this month’s Titus Email hopefully are an encouragement to you. I have to work hard to be quick to listen and slow to speak. It often is the other way around, slow to listen but quick to speak emotionally. Thank you for the opportunity to be able to share this Email with you. Mike
QUICK TO LISTEN, SLOW TO SPEAK
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” Two short verses in James 1 (verses 19-20) say a great deal. We are simply being told some excellent guidance from the Scriptures. But, how often have we fallen short attempting to live out these verses. The key to relationships is right here – listen and listen intently.
Let the other person who needs to talk, talk and have the person share what is inside of them. Yet how often do we really listen but cut them off because, “my thoughts are so important in the conversation that I need to tell the person what or the way it should be that I don’t even give the person an opportunity to truly share their feelings or thoughts.”
The verse states to be quick or make it top priority to listen while speaking and getting angry low priorities. Whenever I take duct tape on my ministry trips to Africa and Asia, people treat this tape almost like gold. Perhaps we need to use some of that duct tape and put it over our mouths when we are in conversation with others. That would slow down our speaking.
Make the other person more important than you – listen to what they are saying and why they are saying it. I have been caught in the act of hearing what someone is saying to me but as a word or phrase gets my emotions involved – to include anger, at that point I am no longer listening to the conversation but rather thinking of what I am about to say or allowing my emotions to take over my thinking and listening. That is when I make a premature statement or judgment. Most times that statement or judgment is wrong because I did not gather the facts or truly understanding what was being said to me.
When injustice or sin occurs, do I get angry over that versus losing an argument or feeling offended or neglected? Selfish anger is wrong. Not understanding or receiving the facts do often lead to selfish anger. Getting angry over what God gets angry over shows maturity. The book of Proverbs brings up many things that causes God’s anger and 6:17-19, seven items are mentioned: a proud, arrogant attitude, lying, people who kill innocent people, someone who plots evil or pursues doing wrong, the person that gives untruthful, dishonest statements and the individual who creates disharmony in a family. Do I get angry over what makes God angry?
Times we have been embarrassed, situations we feel we were not treated fairly or my feelings were hurt, anger comes quite quickly. Do not let anger control us. Ask God to help us have slow reaction times to angry situation and truly desire to get angry at what makes God angry. Ask Him to literally acknowledge that we have two ears and one mouth so that we work to develop listening skills and humble ourselves to be able to not say things so quickly as that habit has firmly been established in us.
Pursuing being a mature spiritual leader involves applying these short verses into our lives. Leaders lead and to be an effective leader, a person needs to listen to those he or she is leading. Controlling your tongue and emotions shows great maturity. Allow the Holy Spirit to develop you and have a greater impact as an influencer in those who enter your life.
WHO DO YOU GO TO FOR ADVICE?
Who do you go to for advice? In today’s world you have so many entities to receive “advice”, to include googling the subject or requesting help on Facebook. What kind of advice is bad? Getting involved in negative activities, not listening to those in authority over you, hurting others or yourself, dabbling in Satanic stuff and not pursuing the best you can be in whatever you are involved in, are all examples of bad advice.
In the first Psalm, we are told not to follow the advice of wicked people and not be involved in behaviors that are contrary to how the Bible teaches us. Verses 2 and 3 indicate, “But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”
We are told to delight in – to enjoy, be satisfied, be fill with joy and excitement – the Bible, the book that God gave to us to learn how to live and begin to enjoy the relationship He desires with each one of us. As we are encouraged to enjoy the Bible, the analogy of soaking in the Bible into our lives is like a tree which is next to a water source of a river or lake, where the roots soak in the nutrients needed in order for the tree to bear excellent fruit every harvest season. With having a consistent water source, the leaves and fruit of the tree never wither or waste away. There will always be a great deal of fruit that results.
That is the potential of a Christian who spends quality time reading and studying the Bible. The Christian who is satisfied being filled with the words of Scripture and allows those words and principles to sink into one’s mind as he or she contemplates and reflects what was read, will be like a tree discussed in Psalms 1. The way you live your life will reflect and illustrate Jesus. You will gain wisdom beyond your years as you apply and share the insights that you learn from the Bible.
The fact that the passage talks about the tree bearing fruit because its roots are by the water source it needs to grow and prosper in fruit bearing should encourage Christians that as you and I spend time learning, pondering, memorizing and applying the Bible, we will have the attributes and character of Jesus coming out in our lives. Studying the Bible will not just be head knowledge but your heart and mind, who you are will be transformed and changed to who Jesus wants you to be.
This does not mean life will become easier or you will prosper as far as earthly possessions. In fact, you may very well be persecuted and suffer from being faithful in your relationship with Jesus. You will impact people and be used by God in ways you cannot even imagine because you are being faithful. Plus you will be spending eternity in a place we can hardly fathom as we will with God and Jesus forever.
This choice is offered to all of us to either be faithful to Jesus and pursue developing our relationship with Him by allowing the Bible to change our thinking and attitudes, or live in such a way that is contrary to the way Jesus and God instructs us to live. It has eternal consequences. Don’t be indecisive, being basically lukewarm or half-hearted about your relationship with Jesus. Pursue Jesus with everything in your life!
ILLUSTRATION ON LISTENING
(read through the whole story)
When the desperate sound of a crying voice became clear on the line, I grabbed for my husband and squeezed his wrist. “Mama, I know it’s late, but don’t . . . don’t say anything until I finish. And before you ask, yes, I’ve been drinking. I nearly ran off the road a few miles back and. . .” She paused. “And I got so scared. All I could think about was how it would hurt you if a policeman came to your door and said I’d been killed. I want. . . to come home. I know running away was wrong. I should have called you days ago but I was afraid.” Immediately, I pictured my daughter’s face in my mind, and my fogged senses became clear enough to talk: “I think. . . .”
“No! Please let me finish! Please!” she pleaded, not so much in anger, but in desperation. I paused and tried to think of what to say. Before I could go on, she continued. “I’m pregnant, Mama. I know I shouldn’t be drinking now. . . especially now, but I am scared, Mama.” The voice broke again, and I bit my lip, feeling my own eyes fill with moisture. I looked at my husband, who sat silently mouthing, “Who is it?” I shook my head, and when I didn’t answer, he jumped up and returned seconds later with the portable phone to his ear. She must have heard the click in the line, because she asked, “Are you still there? Please don’t hang up on me! I need you. I feel so alone.”
“Go on,” I said. “I won’t hang up.” “I should have told you, Mama. But when we talk, you just keep telling me what I should do. You read all those pamphlets on how to talk about sex and all, but all you do is talk. You don’t listen to me. You never let me tell you how I feel. It’s like my feelings don’t exist. Because you’re my mother, you think you have all the answers, but sometimes I don’t need answers. I just want someone to listen.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat and stared at the “how to talk to your children” pamphlets scattered at my nightstand. “I could hear you preaching about how I shouldn’t drink and drive, so I called a taxi. Mama, I’m coming home,” she finished.
“Please wait for the taxi, honey. Don’t hang up until the taxi is there.” In minutes I heard the cab pull up and we said goodbye. Only then did I feel my tension easing. She was safe. Hanging up the phone, I looked at my husband and said, “We have to learn to listen.” Both of us then walked into our daughter’s room, where she lay fast asleep. “Do you think that poor girl who was on the phone will ever know she called a wrong number?” my husband asked.
“Maybe it wasn’t such a wrong number after all,” I whispered.
Nurturing the Leader Within Your Child [pp. 194-195]