For the umpteenth time today, Maria scolded her son about his disrespectful, demanding attitude. Feeling exasperation rising, she counted to 10 before correcting him once again. What was it going to take to teach him to be respectful to her?
“My ears are having trouble hearing,” he says.
In frustration, Maria says, “Well they better figure out how to hear!”
Kids say the darndest things! Art Linkletter, and later Bill Cosby, made quite the living exploring kids’ responses to various questions and scenarios. It was quite entertaining and hilarious!
Why? Kids don’t have filters on what they think and say, so often they speak the naked truth. If we can get past the initial shock at their stark honesty, we will often find profound truth.
As I thought more about the above statement, I realized my ears often have trouble hearing. And it has nothing to do with age or physical impairment.
My ears have trouble hearing:
- the whispered reminder to turn off the TV and clean up the kitchen
- when my angry words destroys another’s heart
- that I don’t need that second piece of cake
- that I’m wrong
- the “I’m sorry” from a dear one with whom I just fought and am not yet ready to give up the fight
- the news of a loved one’s death
- the whispered voice letting me know I just crushed my child’s spirit
- that I can’t do what I want whenever I want
- what my heart doesn’t want to hear
We all practice selective hearing.
Sometimes, when working in a noisy environment, it is self-preservation. Sometimes, it is to tune out the distractions so you can focus on the task at hand. Sometimes, it is because you are so absorbed in a brilliantly written novel that you literally don’t hear anything around you. Sometimes it’s a decision – whether subconscious or conscious – to pursue your way no matter what.
“let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” Proverbs1:5
“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 23:12
In all honesty, perhaps we don’t really have a hearing problem as much as we have a heart problem.
We don’t want to do something so we don’t listen. We choose to go our own way. My favorite book, the Bible, calls this a deceitful heart.
While Maria’s son blamed his ears for not hearing, he willfully chose to ignore his mother’s admonitions. Before we think this is only a child’s problem, let’s turn the mirror to our own heart. How often do you have trouble hearing when it goes against your wants? How often do I choose not listen because I want to pursue my own stubborn way?
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
The Heavenly Father promises to help us each day if we will just listen to His voice. However, this also requires us to be willing to change our heart, our thoughts, and our will. It requires us to turn our ears on so we can hear and then choose to act on what we’re hearing.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. James 1:22-24 (The Message)
No selective hearing here. Instead, learning the art of tuned-in hearing. Action-based on what you hear.
I found today’s nugget of extraordinary wisdom tucked in the words of a child.
Do your ears have trouble hearing? Or do you have a heart problem? What are you doing today to fix it? Leave a comment below.