Listening and Speaking

Disagreement and conflict is a normal part of life, especially when we are working with others to do something of significance, or working with others over a period of time that takes the relationship to any degree of depth. 

I want to offer some simple insight to help you when you run into these situations that will both help you, and help the person you've walked into conflict with.

James 1:19 says, "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger"

There is a real simple reality that is a huge part of the battle when it comes to conflict. Set your heart to listen and hear what people are saying, like really listen and hear. 

To make sure we're on the same page here is what I mean by these two words.

Listen actively, make sure you are catching every detail of what they are sharing. Missing crucial parts of information can completely change your perspective, and cause you to be having an argument from the wrong vantage point.

Hear more than just their words, see their heart. It is one thing to understand what a person is saying, it is another thing to understand what a person is saying and see where they are coming from. Giving them grace for the complexity of their life situation is a part of listening and hearing. Understanding the pain they may feel in the moment gives you the ability to really listen and hear. 

Being slow to speak means actively listen and hear before you open your mouth. It is not as simple as sitting there gritting your teeth waiting for them to stop talking so you can start. 

I believe the slow to anger part is a simple product of really hearing the whole story of the other person and putting yourself in their shoes makes it extremely difficult to get angry with the people you are in conflict with.

My challenge to you this week is this, we need to see the value in the person as greater than space between us in our argument. We need to seek to understand and give grace, more than our desire to be right or win an argument. Let's listen and hear, and then speak with love.