Please read the article titled, "10 Reasons to Listen Before You Answer" by Pastor John Piper that I copied below. It is an amazing article for 2 reasons:
1- I needed it at this point in my spiritual growth.
2- It reminds me how alive and sharp the Sword of God's Word can be to my soul.
One reason I like Pastor John Piper is this: you cannot read ANYTHING of his and walk away saying" Hum, that didn't really apply to me."
Guess what? God's Word does not work that way either.
Answering before listening starts in the mind. Even if I do not verbally interupt a person while they are speaking, where is my mind? Was I fully engaged and attentive? Or was I thinking about what is for dinner?
::Sigh:: so much to work on in this flesh of mine. I have a tendency to say these are "little" issues that I will work on "later". Maybe I do not actually SAY that, but my lack of sensitivity to the small things points toward avoidance than discipline.
It is the small pebble in my shoe that I think I can "live with" for a while. Yet it still leaves a blister when the shoe comes off. Furthermore, the sins that I view as "small" are usually the ones that affect other people the most.
Since I read this article I have seen habits I have of "answering before listening." Listening takes patience. Listening takes time. So, I have started two things...
1- Listen with all of my attention, body language, mind and heart.
2- Do not talk in paragraphs as to make it easier on others to listen to me!
Questions for myself:
1- Who becomes the target of my bad listening skills? My family.
2- Do I answer God before listening? Shamefully, yes.
3- What causes me to answer before listening? Impatience, arrogance, selfishness...
4- Do I want people to listen to me? Yes. (So do the same for them!)