are we listening?
On a weekday morning when the kids were still little, I was washing up the breakfast dishes. It was getting late, so I reminded Christopher to go upstairs and make his bed before we left for school. He had finished eating but was totally absorbed with a silly cartoon that two-year old Jonathan was watching from his high chair.
A few minutes passed and still there was no movement at the breakfast table. I asked again, more firmly this time, “Christopher, go now and make your bed please!”
When talking to our kids, sometimes it seems like they only hear what all the grown-ups sound like in a Peanuts cartoon, you know? Every word sounds like the “wah wah wah” of a muted trombone!
Distracted with finishing my chores, a few more minutes passed.
“Christopher! Stop watching cartoons—we’re going to be late. Go upstairs and make your bed NOW!”
No longer entertained by the cartoon, Jonathan was paying close attention to what seemed (to him) to be a showdown in the kitchen with mom and his older brother.
So Jonathan—normally quiet and mild-mannered—climbed down from the perch in his high chair, padded over to the tv and shut it off. Then he turned and yelled, in his loudest voice, “MAKE YOUR BED!”
Christopher and I were both shocked by the intensity and volume of Jonathan’s words. What happened next surprised the daylights out of me. Quickly and without a word of objection, Christopher hurried upstairs and made his bed!
Sigh…selective listening, for sure. Sometimes we can be like that with God.
When you read the Bible, are you focused and listening to what it says? God’s Word is reassuring and it is also confronting.
We need to guard ourselves against the natural tendency to selectively listen—distracted and half-heartedly giving heed to what we are reading. If our “quiet time” is mainly a steady diet of sweet little devotional books or Christian celebrity quotes, to what instructions, corrections, convictions are we holding ourselves?
Let the Bible confront you.
Let it correct you. Have you ever experienced the Word of God like a sharp stab? It is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Eating this book can be bittersweet. But God’s words are always choice, never reckless.
Jesus spoke frankly to the woman at the well about the wreckage of her sex life (John 4:9, 27). He told Zacchaeus to stop his government-backed extortion racket (Luke 19:1-9). He confronted Nicodemus, that although he was a highly honored teacher in Israel, he still needed to be born again (John 3:1-14).
Yes, God is kind. He is gentle and loving.
He also speaks hard truth that awakens our conscience if we listen and take heed. We need to be healed of the blindness to our faults and the deepest deceptions about ourselves.
Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you” (John 8:11). In the next breath He said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Are we listening?
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All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17