Listening to, and loving, one another

Adapted from an article published in The Christian Science Monitor, February 22, 2017.

The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” It’s useful advice. There’s value in “… encouraging differing points of views—and then listening to them” (see editorial on facing page).

I’ve found prayer to be one of the most effective ways to pursue active listening and to help open a way toward healing. Prayer helps sharpen the spiritual acuity needed in order to recognize what might otherwise stay hidden—whether it’s good that needs to be seen, or evil that needs to be exposed. Early in my career, working as a journalist, there were times when it seemed nearly impossible to decide whose position on contentious local issues was accurate. A breakthrough came, however, on a story concerning local police officers’ residency requirements. By carefully listening first to all sides, and then prayerfully trusting God for direction, I was able to cut through biased viewpoints and publish an article that was accurate and fair.

Actively seeking out alternative ideas isn’t just a handy professional tool for journalists, politicians, educators, or lawyers, however. When it’s done with a desire for a higher understanding than human analysis can reach, it becomes a powerful asset that promotes healing.

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