“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:37.
It is easy to jump to conclusions. What we see on the surface is often just the tip of the iceberg, part of a bigger picture. We tend to jump to conclusions and make assumptions without even checking the whole story.
As Christians, we should not judge people simply on what you see. We need to know the whole story. We can start by asking some questions. Try to put on their shoes. If you are the one who is going through some struggles, would it be fair if the people around you will just judge you without even knowing your story? Of course, you would love them to know everything so that they will understand.
How many people do you know—really know? Five? Ten? Fifteen? What does it mean to really know someone? It means at least that we know what they like and dislike, what they value, what their priorities and goals are. We know what they would say or do in this or that situation.
What does it take to get to know someone? To begin with, they must want us to know them. That is, they must be willing to tell us what they are really thinking and feeling. And we must want to know them.To know the whole story requires some action on our part. For example, taking the time to listen.
Listening should always take precedence over speaking. In our culture of constant contact through technology it’s easy for our attention to be divided. We may be physically present but mentally absent. We give the gift of listening every time we turn our full attention to the person who is talking with us. When we listen to people, we validate them. Listening says, “I see you. I know you are here. I am here for you.”
Every person you know is looking for someone who cares enough to listen. You have heard the saying that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. The truth is that every relationship begins with listening. Listening is hard work and something we are not prone to do. Most of the time we listen only to have the time to prepare the brilliant things we are going to say when that person stops talking.
It is amazing how much listening can help others. The newlywed who has lost their job needs someone who will simply listen to his or her fears. The friend who has an addiction needs someone who will listen and offer empathy and hope. The child who does not understand why he or she has medical issues has a lot of questions that need a listening heart.
Instead of jumping to conclusions that are not that reliable, try to ask God about the right thing to do. Learn to seek wisdom from Him and just allow Him to transform your mind. Start by listening.
- How well do you listen?
- What can we do this week to be a better listener?