I recently heard a story about a farmer who was suing for damages that he had incurred in an automobile accident. A truck hit his pickup truck, and his pickup was totaled. Well, he was being cross-examined in court by the insurance company attorney who said, “Sir, the report that was taken at the scene said you told the officer you were fine. Can you explain that?” In other words, why was he suing? And I understand the farmer said, “Me and my old cow, Bessy, was driving down the road in my pickup truck.”
Well, the attorney objected. He said, “Your Honor, wait a minute! He’s not answering the question.” And the judge said, “Sir, you do have to answer that question. Would you please?” “Me and my old cow, Bessy, was driving down the road in my pickup truck.” Well, now the attorney was a little more ticked. He said, “He is evading the question, your Honor. I object! Make him answer the question.”
The judge said, “Well, maybe we ought to hear everything he has to say.” “Me and my old cow, Bessy, was driving down the road in my pickup truck, when suddenly this big old semi came across the road and hit us and threw me out of the truck; landed on the highway. Pretty soon I saw this big old officer standing over me, and I said, ‘How is Bessy?’ And he said, ‘Well, I went over and Bessy wasn’t doing well at all, so I took out my gun and I shot her.’ Then he asked me, ‘Now, how are you doing?'” I guess he was fine. See, hearing the rest of the story can make a very big difference.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Big Ears.”
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from James 1:19. And in a way it’s a big ears verse. It’s amazing when you listen for the rest of the story how it can lead to a whole different conclusion. Here’s what it says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” I remember Warren Wiersbe saying one time, “People get most of their exercise jumping to conclusions.” Well, it’s true. It’s like the attorney with that farmer. If you’d be silent long enough to hear the whole story, it might change everything.
That’s probably why it says in this verse that people who are quick to listen are slow to become angry. Because they get the rest of the story, and that often makes the difference. Now, listening makes a big difference in whether or not you understand the other person. You’ve got to be willing to hear their whole paragraph, not just the opening sentence and then you say, “Well, I know the rest of it.”
A lot of times we just impatiently think, “Yeah, I know what you’re going to say.” But listen! Hear their heart, not just their words. I mean, this is basic to a married couple being able to grow into oneness. Or people in a church or a business who have different viewpoints.
Listening also makes a big difference in whether or not you are listened to. Nowhere is this more important than between parents and kids. When a parent speaks without listening, which we often do, that parent has forfeited a lot of authority when they speak. You cut off the communication that every parent so desperately wants. Our children need to hear our wisdom about their friends, their school work, their music, their love life. But they’re not going to hear it if we don’t win the right to be heard by listening.
And when you’re sharing Jesus with someone, don’t be a gospel machine gun. Listen! Find out where their need is first. Find out about their background. One way to show a person you really care is to have big ears. It’s very hard for someone to talk into a big mouth. Listen aggressively with your eyes, your hands. Ask that second or third question that shows you really care. “How are you doing?” “Fine.” “Are you really?” You can’t imagine how much your relationship could be improved by heeding this simple advice from the Word of God, “be quick to listen.”
So here’s the question for today. When I ask it, I want you to think about the people around you in your personal universe. Would they call me a good listener? If you haven’t been listening, would you tell them you’re sorry you haven’t been and that you’re asking God to help you change?
Beginning today, give the people around you that great gift – big ears.