Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.
After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly
Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
- Mark 7:31-37
“In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. published a small volume he titled, ‘Strength to Love.’ This collection of his sermons challenged Christians to connect their faith to action. He saw racial unity, justice for all, and recognition that we were all created ‘out of the same stuff’ by the Lord God, as a means to behave toward each other with love, fellowship, tolerance, and righteousness. Quoting Amos 5:24 (NIV), King said, he would not be satisfied until ‘justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’
It has been 56 years since then. The nation, the church, individuals aren’t doing so well.
The achievement of unity ought to be practical. Start by talking less and listening more. Acknowledge that every human being is worthy of respect. Look for ways to help others in their need. Focus on what is positive, even if you’re having a bad day. Remember that cheerfulness is a choice. Share wisdom with kindness. Give deference to those with more experience or age than yourself. And never forget, what Jesus instructed: ‘So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets’ (Matthew 7:12).”
- Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
Maybe I picked this short post because I am going to the doctor with an earache. I have had an ear infection brewing for a while. Jesus is the great healer, so I am not worried.
But in the devotion, the first practical tip was to talk less and listen more.
Have you ever had a team building exercise, or in management training classes, where you had to sit on your hands for a full minute without talking while someone talked about a controversial topic – one that you oppose? You had to listen and then it became your turn to respond, while they sat on their hands and stayed silent.
That type of exercise is painful. Should I underline and bold “painful?”
But few learn the lesson. They respond with “I’ll never do that again!” And that response condemns them to never listen, and to be lousy managers.
Most of the time when we pretend to listen, our brains are thinking of what we will assault the opponent with when it is our turn to talk. We never hear them. And that includes normal conversation.
And that lack of hearing is not from having permanent hearing loss or a temporary ear infection or too much wax build-up.
Maybe, we do not show God’s love enough. In not listening, it is as if we do not care.
God listens to our prayers, even when our prayers are counter to God’s plan for our lives. Just because God does not give us everything that we ask for does not mean He did not listen. He just has a better plan for us.
But we should listen more. Once I learn that one, I might come back to the other practical things in the quoted devotion…
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.