“50%, Swanson. 50%.”
I hear this spoken to me at least 5-6 times a week. It originates from my wife, who frequently complains that I don’t really hear what she’s saying.
It’s not that I don’t hear her; it’s because one of two possibilities are happening.
1) I’m not paying attention to her and, thus, do not hear her.
2) I do, in fact, hear her…but end up forgetting whatever she said because I got distracted by somethOOOOO, THAT IS REALLY SHINY!!!!!!!!!!
What was I saying?
Oh yeah. My wife tells me that I only hear 50% of what she says.
This is discouraging to me. Most of the time, I want to hear what my wife says. Like any husband who is imperfect, I don’t want to listen to her from time to time. But I usually do listen to her, and not just because she’ll give me a hard time if I don’t. I want to hear her because being in relationship means that I respond and take action to our conversation. I serve her, help her, participate in things with her. These all require that I hear her and react accordingly.
Jesus picked up on an idea Isaiah the prophet preached about when He was travelling around and teaching through parables. People would hear His teaching, but they wouldn’t listen. There’s a difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is what happens physically; listening is what happens when you put the hearing into action.
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” –Matthew 13:13-15
Both Isaiah and Jesus were frustrated by people who would hear what they would teach but be unwilling to put it into practice.
I feel like the Bride of Christ (that’s us) has grown deaf in the United States. Not completely deaf, mind you, but the Church is pretty hard of hearing in my opinion.
- We are known more for what we stand against than for what we affirm.
- We seem to have more wealth and stuff than we know what to do with.
- We ignore the fatherless and the oppressed instead of ignoring the critics.
- We have a reputation for shooting our own rather than supporting one another.
Are we really hearing what God says to us?
- We should be known for our unstoppable love.
- We should be obnoxious with our generosity, especially with those who don’t have two pennies to rub together.
- We should saturate “charity cases” with our presence, protection, and prayers.
- We should be the first in line to get our brother or sister-in-Chrsit’s back instead of wielding a knife.
I’d hate for Jesus to say to us someday, “50%, Church. 50%. *sigh*”