A powerful, thought-provoking insight....

Give me a well-trained tongue that has been borne out of silent listening in the sanctuary of my heart.

~ sevensacredpauses by Macrina Wiederkehr

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Listening . . . Reconciliation

We should never underestimate the power of God's love for us in response to our prayers for help, intercession, understanding, and reconciliation. All of us are in relationship with someone and there are times when each of us does something or says something which disappoints, angers, frustrates, or even scares those with whom we are in relationship. It is a good thing when this happens to turn to God and ask for help in sorting out the relationship. As in all of our prayers, though, we need to be of a "single" mind as to what we're asking God to do. If we haven't taken the time to sort through our actions and reactions, our emotions and desires, how can we, first, recognize our part in the state of the relationship, and second, bring the situation to God with a "single" mind as to what we ask. (James 1:6-8) It is in our minds and our hearts that we do battle with our false self and true self -- the self who is never wrong and the self who sees someone else's point of view. God desires for us to be in right relationship with each other and with God. We've heard the "Golden Rule" before . . . it has great meaning in a situation where there is a dispute and hurt feelings . . . we are charged by God to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

What does this say to us about the way in which we need to encounter and engage each other when we have erred in our relationships? God has provided us with the perfect example. Jesus spoke hard things honestly and lovingly. Jesus also listened. This morning we heard a wonderful sermon about the power of listening. Perhaps in resolving conflicts in our relationships, we could rephrase that "Golden Rule" to read "listen to others as we would have them listen to us." A part of the text for the sermon was James 1:19,20, "You must understand this my beloved, let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness." As we pray to God, with a single mind, and ask for help in mending our relationships, we can do so with the confidence that God will, indeed, use the love and light sent into this world with Christ to give us the understanding and peace in our hearts with which to engage our family, friends, and neighbors (the world over) and aid us in our reconciliations.

However, we're right back to listening because if we fail to listen, we will not hear God's voice, we will not experience God's love and light, and we will miss out on a "rightness" in our relationships which brings joy into our lives. My prayer for this week is to have eagerly listening ears and a willing heart with which to hear God's voice.

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