I admit it, I like the NASCAR channel on Sirius/XM radio. There is one annoyance that I cannot quite get over. Someone will often call in with some off the wall idea to fix whatever problem or issue is being discussed. Some fantastic way for the racing to be better, a conspiracy theory on why Johnson always wins, an unheralded engineering fix, or a fantastic rule change that will return NASCAR to the “good old days”. The problem isn’t that someone has an idea, even a crazy one, but when they refuse to consider the wisdom of others in response to their idea. It reminds me of this proverb – “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” (Proverbs 18:2, ESV)
We all know people that would fit this description and the games they play. Games like: “let me tell you what I think” or one-upmanship or the note writer. I fall into some of those traps at times. A strange confession from a Blog author, perhaps even a little hypocritical. So, if nothing else, learn from my own mistakes.
It is fine to express our thoughts and feelings. In fact, I’m a firm believer in people learning to tell their own stories. We become the fool, however, when we fail to listen to what others say in response to our thoughts and feelings. No one likes to be told they are wrong or haven’t considered other perspectives. But by listening to others we can learn two valuable insights. Where we are wrong and where we have done a poor job conveying our thoughts and emotions. To hear those lessons we must listen, really listen, to what others are saying. Too often we speak our thoughts, give space for the other person to say something, but instead of listening to them we are reloading for the next round. We end up concentrating on our blistering retort instead of listening to what they are really saying. Let’s not be the fool that only delights in expressing our own opinion. Instead, let’s be the wise person that seeks understanding through listening to others. “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” (Proverbs 1:5, ESV)