From an actual 911 call in Eugene, OR – A man speaking frantically into the phone, “My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart! The operator asks, “Is this her first child?” The man shouts back, “No! This is her first husband!”
From a court transcript in Modesto, CA – Question: When the robbery occurred, were you shot in the fracas? Answer: No sir. I was shot between my fracas and my belly button.
We’d probably spare ourselves a lot of embarrassment if we would just listen more carefully to what others are saying. The biblical writer James must have had that in mind when he wrote, “Be quick to listen and slow to speak” (James 1:19).
The first rule of good communication is to listen carefully before responding, but I don’t follow that rule very often. I open my big, fat mouth and trust my brain to spit out words of wisdom. That plan of action seldom works out well.
Why do I do this? The same reason you do it. We have convinced ourselves that our words are so important, so substantial and so valuable that others will be awed by the wisdom that drips out of our mouths. Who are we kidding?
The Bible teaches us, “Don’t let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29).
Think about it. How can we speak in a “helpful” way to benefit others, how can we “build others up,” and how can we share something “according to their needs” unless we first listen well enough to know what we’re talking about?
Lord, help us out of this “fracas!”
Craig Fry, CLC President