It’s been said that “during anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation. Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That’s just not true.”  I want to be expectant that the noise, the anger in our culture, will slowly dissipate but I’m not hopeful that we’re ready or willing to stop the shouting and start listening to one another – at least not yet.
I remembered reading a story about a saint walking along the riverbanks when she noticed some family members shouting at each other.  She stopped and asked her disciples, “Why do people shout when angry?”
The disciples thought for some time.  One said, “Because they lose their temper and cool.”
Another one said that they want to make their point and stress their views. The saint was obviously not satisfied.  Finally, she mused, “When two people are in love, they talk softly with each other.  What happens when the love increases much more?  They start whispering.  And then comes a point, when they only have to look into each other’s eyes to convey their thoughts.
Now, let me ask you again why people shout when angry?”  The disciples were simple perplexed.  So the holy woman continued. “When two people are angry, the distance between their hearts increases.  To cover the distance, they need to shout so that they can hear each other.  The more the anger, the greater the distance, the greater the distance the more the shouting.”

Scripture Reading: James 1:19
“You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger;”

Reflection Questions:
Why do you think people shout at each other?
Who do you need to pay more attention to when they speak?
What traits make for an effective listener?

Prayer:  Holy God, help me be a better listener so I can be more attentive to the needs of others and respond in tangible and helpful ways. Let me be someone who makes a difference. Amen.

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