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And so based on what I’ve seen, and having been a scout when I was a teenager about twenty years ago, I think I can say that, even though the Scout Law says that “a scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent,” the one characteristic about a good scout that’s not in the law, and I’m talking about a really good scout, in my opinion, is that a good scout listens.
A good scout listens. He listens to the camp director when he says, “Even though they may look cute, don’t try to cuddle with a bear.” And he listens to his fellow scout when he says, “I really don’t think it’s a good idea to whittle blind folded.” And he listens to his Scout Master when he says, “You’ll never make it to Gettysburg if you haven’t ridden your bike since you took off the training wheels.” You see, a good scout listens.
But that shouldn’t really be a surprise; I mean, this listening stuff really applies to everybody, right? I mean, let’s get real, life is certainly easier and better when you listen. And if you have any doubt, ask any girl who’s texting her boyfriend while her teacher is reviewing for the final exam or any boy
who’s thinking about the game as his girlfriend tells him exactly what she wants for her birthday. I’ll tell you, listening is the foundation of every good relationship, it certainly is of any solid marriage, am I not right Red?
As a matter of fact, it’s something we all really need to do if we’re serious about things like getting a diploma or staying employed or keeping a spouse. And it’s certainly important in the Bible. Just listen to what it says in Proverbs, and if you don’t know about Proverbs, for the most part, it’s a collection of common sense sayings. For example, in one place, it says, “Fools think they know what is best, but a sensible person listens to advice.” And a little bit later on, this is what it says: “It makes a lot of sense to be a person of few words and to stay calm. Even fools seem smart when they are quiet.” And in the New Testament, the Letter of James: “My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry. If you are angry, you cannot do any of the good things that God wants done. You must stop doing anything immoral or evil. Instead be humble and accept the message that is planted in you to save you.” And so, I think I’m safe in saying that listening is pretty important.
And that’s why I think it’s such a shame that a lot of folks, maybe a lot of us really aren’t very good at it. I mean, let’s get real, often we don’t listen very well. And as Debbie will tell you in a heartbeat, I definitely include myself. And you know, I think there are two primary reasons why it’s a problem. I mean, on one hand, I think often we just don’t care what the other person is saying, and so we don’t listen. And more often than not, we feel that way, because we think we already know what he’s is about to say, you know, like this guy.
You see, sometimes we don’t listen, because we don’t care. On the other hand, sometimes we’re afraid of what we might hear. My gosh, what if I’m all excited, because I think it’s a great idea or it’s the perfect job or it’s exactly what God has called me to do, what’s the worse thing that can happen? I’ll tell you what it is; to have a wise guy question the decision I’ve already made. Man, it makes you feel like a deflated balloon. And so sometimes we don’t listen out of fear.
But you know, whether it’s not caring or being afraid, the results of self-imposed deafness, man, they’re always bad. For example, it may keep us in the dark about things we could understand. Or it may put a strain on our relationships, including the one we have with God. Or it may result in this. something even worst, like this.
Let’s just say, not listening ain’t good. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s even worst when you’re not listening to God.
But right now, I’ve got some good news for you, and here it is: not unlike the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, we can turn it around. In other words, right now, we can decide to be better listeners, better listeners with one another and better listeners to God. And we can accomplish this by doing two very simple things.