Those who answers before listening— that is their folly and their shame.Proverbs 18:13
Hey! Shhh! Just kidding! The Bible verse and the picture above says it all, doesn’t it? It sure seems that people don’t want to understand those who are different than they are. It is easier if not more pleasurable (in the short term) to attack the things and people we don’t understand or agree with. What does Proverbs tell us about that approach? It is foolish and it is shameful.
That is tough language. Maybe it takes words that blunt to get our attention sometimes. Instead of waiting our turn to rebut, just maybe we should take a breath and actually listen. There is a false equivalency that understanding and agreement go hand in hand. It is absolutely possible to understand someone or some thing and not agree with it. Not only that, but it is possible to disagree and not get into an argument.
Proverbs says something about this too…A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.Proverbs 18:2
Once again we see behavior identified as foolish. We don’t have to say everything we are thinking because it is not always helpful and has the possibility to cause turmoil.
Huh, Proverbs has something to say about that as well. The one who guards their mouth and tongue keeps themselves out of trouble.Proverbs 21:23
Why does the Bible and specifically Proverbs talk about this so much? (Disclosure: There are more verses about this topic in Proverbs that are not in this article.) The answer is this, we are created to be in relationship. We are created for community. God’s intention for humanity is that we draw close to each other. At times we try real hard to prove God wrong.
We don’t endear people to us by arguing. Just maybe by listening more and being less opinionated we are actually doing God’s will. This will allow us to connect with others at a deeper level so that we can talk about things that really matter… like Jesus.
Even Jesus half-brother James reminds us of all these things when he wrote… Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for person’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.James 1:19-20