“They Say We Don’t Listen…”

why would they say that?

I know Jesus said to talk to people you have something against, but it won’t do any good because they won’t listen”

My question: “What did they say when you talked to them?”

Often the answer is, “I didn’t talk to them because it won’t do any good because they won’t listen.”

“How do you know they won’t listen if you haven’t talked to them?”

“Because everybody says they won’t listen.”

And those are some of the beakers in communication (practicing practical Christianity).

I don’t do what Jesus says when it is difficult, embarrassing, or uncomfortable.

Spreading and/or listening to gossip that comes to and from “everybody and they.”

It’s easier to blame and dodge than to engage in painful conversation.

However, is it possible that sometimes leaders don’t listen well, long, and patiently? Is there an element of truth in the comment, “They don’t listen?” Have I thought about growing in the Jesus-like skill of compassion?

Questions to Consider
  1. Do I listen? Listening is more than being silent when someone is talking. One definition of listening: “take notice of and act on what someone says; respond to advice or a request.”Listening is more than being silent when someone is talking. Click To Tweet
  2. Do I let others finish what they want to say before I start preparing my reply? One of my weaknesses is thinking about my next speech while the other person is telling what is important to him.
  3. Do I freely accept, invite, and appreciate criticism? It’s easy for me to “tune out” when someone reminds me that not everyone agrees with me and values what I say and do. But that’s not wise. “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1, NKJV).
  4. Do I subtly deflect criticism by using several of the following statements?
    Let’s think positive.
    We need to count our blessings.
    When we trust God, everything will work out.
    We don’t need to dwell in the past.
    It’s time to move on to the next level.
    We’ve talked about that enough.
    You need to respect your elders (preacher, deacons, parents, etc.).
  5. Am I practicing listening in a safe environment to be able to listen in a more challenging situation? You can’t read enough good books to play great basketball. You have to practice, practice, practice.
  6. How do I evaluate my listening? If I were the one expressing my concerns, questions, or criticism, and the person receiving my sincere thoughts responded as I usually respond, what would I say about how that person values me? Golden Rule: (Matthew 7:12).

Is it possible people say “they don’t listen” because I don’t listen very well?

How could I grow?

What will I do to become a more caring listener?

It’s easier to blame and dodge than to engage in painful conversation. Click To Tweet

What blessings will I receive by believing that everyone can teach me something if I am willing to value the uniqueness and insight of every God-created person? (Philippians 2:3)

“When you fast…” — Jesus

why would you fast?

I was asked to teach a young adult Bible class on Bible study or fasting. I chose Bible study because, at the time, I’d never fasted. I didn’t want to teach what Jesus and others said about fasting then make excuses about why I’d never practiced it.

Since then I’ve fasted. I’m not an expert but I’ve learned some things by experience in addition to what I read in the Bible.

Jesus fasted. He assumed and stated His disciples would fast after He was taken away from them (Matthew 4:1, 2; Matthew 6:16-18; Matthew 9:14, 15).

The church at Antioch fasted when they sent out Barnabas and Saul on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:1-3).

Paul, Barnabas, and the churches of Galatia fasted after or during the appointing of elders (Acts 14:21-23).

Paul counted fasting part of his sufferings for the Lord (2 Corinthians 6:4, 5; 2 Corinthians 11:27).

When we read the Bible, we learn God’s people have fasted. In the Old Testament, they fasted in times of war or the threat of it, when loved ones were sick, and when seeking God’s forgiveness. In the New Testament, fasting accompanied dealing with temptations, special missionary emphasis, and in the selecting and appointing elders.

Some things I’ve learned from fasting:

  1. I spend much time preparing for, cleaning up after, or driving to and from eating events. I’ve done most of my fasting during “weeks of isolation” where I set aside special time for study and reflection. I was amazed at what I could do during the time I would’ve been eating for three-five days.
  2. The hunger pains were good reminders when I had a special prayer emphasis. When I felt the hunger, I would pray.
  3. Fasting is a good exercise in self discipline. I don’t do what I feel like doing when I don’t eat when I’m hungry. There are many times I don’t need to do what I feel like doing. Practice strengthens that muscle.[tweetthis]Fasting is a good exercise in self discipline.[/tweetthis]
  4. Fasting gave me a greater appreciation of food and water when I broke the fast. Gratitude is often heightened after deprivation, whether voluntary or involuntary.
  5. I now read Psalm 42:1 and sing As the Deer with a different understanding after going without food and water.
  6. I learned that liver and onions isn’t a good meal to break a fast. Some reading about this topic can be helpful. I read Richard Foster’s book, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, the summer I fasted the first time.[tweetthis]I learned that liver and onions isn’t a good meal to break a fast.[/tweetthis]

Jesus didn’t say, “If you fast.” He said, “When you fast.” Although we’re not saved by fasting, we may be served well by fasting and other teachings of Jesus which we may or may not have noticed, practiced, and encouraged other disciples to obey.

Jesus concluded the sermon where He mentioned fasting by saying, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man…” (Matthew 7:24, NKJV). I want to be a wise man.

How has fasting made a difference in your life?