So here’s something you might not know about me: I tend to annoy my kids. I don’t (always) do it on purpose, but there are just instances when the timing is off and they are in the middle of their own thing and the last thing they want is their dad walking in cracking jokes and making funny noises with his mouth. And truth be told, there are times when I don’t really want to hear about their stuff that is going on. I mean it usually isn’t much, and most of the time (like 99.9% of it) it is about some kind of video game or online thing. So I admit that I would tune it out from time to time (like 99.9% of it).
But yesterday as I was wrapping up some work stuff, I wandered into our daughter’s room where she was playing a game on her iPad (I was not at all surprised). I sat down beside and asked her what was up as her brow was furrowed. She said nothing. I made a joke that she wasn’t sad, or mad, or glad, so she must be Vlad (her brother’s friend) and she pretty much just rolled her eyes (as they do after the 5,439th time I used that joke). For some reason, I changed it up a little, I asked her about her game, what she was trying to do, and why it was so difficult.
At let me tell you, the floodgates opened. She had a lot to say about her game, and was really excited to talk about it and that I looked like I was listening. Usually I’d be driving or something and then quickly change the subject. But because I sat and paid attention and looked at her as she spoke… well it was different and I think she picked up on it.
Of course, this might seem obvious, I mean if someone is talking to you, you should make eye contact and listen. But I guess what really stood out to me was how much of a difference it made, and also how much I learned about Minecraft (some game kids play, apparently).
I feel for the prophets of the bible, because no one seems to ever listen to them. We see how Jeremiah, who is regarded as a great prophet and quoted many times on different picture frames and greeting cards, is treated when he just was faithfully following his call. We see how Jesus, God’s own son, is treated when he speaks a prophetic word to the people of his hometown. They were so angry that they wanted to throw him off a cliff.
So what gives? Why do people not like these prophets so much?
Well, in a word (that is probably pretty obvious by now), they aren’t listening. They hear the words perhaps, but they aren’t doing what they can to absorb what is being said, they aren’t taking in the message, they aren’t allowing the truth to transform them. So instead, they react and usually not in a favourable way.
But as the second reading reminds us, let’s listen in love. Let’s speak with love. Let’s act in ways that display love. This not only of course improves relationships, but reaffirms in us our calling as God’s people. For it is in love that we can see each other, see ourselves, and see God among us within our relationships.
It isn’t always easy of course, but perhaps it’s something that needs to be on our minds the next time our eyes glaze over at something that we just don’t want to hear. It isn’t always the content of what is being said, but the message behind it that is being conveyed by the speaker and as well as the hearer. It is my hope and prayer for the sake of our relationships that the message will always be “love”.
Have a great week, everyone!