The old adage is right: “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” How many relationships have been damaged or ruined because we were slow to listen and quick to speak? How many mistakes could have been avoided had we only listened instead of talked?

We should be careful about the kinds of people we spend a lot of time listening to. Psalm 1 warns us not to listen to the foolish or the wicked. However, there are other people we should be quick to listen to:

• Church elders because of their position (Hebrews 13:17).
• Wise people because of their good advice (Proverbs 13:20).
• Godly people because they can represent God’s perspective on our situation (Psalm 141:5).
• Authorities because they represent the law (Romans 13:1).

Most of us are not naturally quick to listen, but we can train ourselves to be better listeners. Good listening is active. It engages with the speaker. It understands the speaker’s perspective, even if we disagree. When people feel heard, they are more willing to listen to our side. Being quick to listen actually opens the door to greater communication because listening shows respect, and when people feel respected, they are more likely to return that respect and listen to us. It is important for us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. God’s Word always shows us the best way, and when we follow it, we are blessed.

Are you the kind of person who is quick to listen, slow to speak? Do you cut people off before they’re finished speaking? Sometimes, do you stop listening to others because you think that you know what the speaker is about to say? Perhaps, it’s time for all of us to become better listeners and stop interjecting those worn out philosophies that only serve to stir more anger and contention. What do you think?

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