The other day, I saw Beckah Shae post the photo below on her Twitter and Instagram account. However, it wasn't until today, that I was inspired to write this list down to keep handy. I also wanted to look up all of the coordinating references with each "way to love" listed.
Today, I got through just number one. I read Proverbs 18 and immediately was drawn into the depth of wisdom. Verse 1 reads, "Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgement." As I pondered over this verse, I thought about how many people whom I know, who have not listened to those around them-- who care deeply for their well being. I was filled with concern with people who are making seemingly rash decisions based on their own desires, not what may be best, and ignoring wise counsel from those around them, or in authority over them. Without reading any further, God used that verse alone to remind me of the importance of accountability, authority, and community in each of our lives. Without it, we are bound to reap destruction.
As I read further, it became clear why Proverbs 18 is the reference used for "way to love #1" ...
LISTEN WITHOUT INTERRUPTING
"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." - Proverbs 18:2
"A fools mouth is his ruin..." - Proverbs 18:7
"If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame." - Proverbs 18:13
These verses give more depth to listening without interrupting. How many of us are guilty of "listening" to someone while in all actuality, the entire time they are talking, we are formulating our response?
From experience, I know how meaningful it can be when one listens intently, assessing what has been said, and then responding. My husband will tell you that often times, I do not share expecting a response or solution to a problem.... I usually just want to be heard. And interrupting would give me the impression that hearing me is not important.
A helpful skill in listening without interrupting is active listening. One way that Tyler and I practice active listening and attempt to avoid miscommunication is after one of us shares something, the other person will respond with "I am hearing you say...." This allows for correction, while also forcing the listener to actively listen. Unfortunately, we are not perfect in this and miscommunicate! But, we do our best to listen to one another in a way that communicates love.
Who do you need to listen to more, while interrupting less?