A few weeks ago I was awakened at 3:00 in the morning by my phone ringing. By the time I’d realised what was happening, recognized it was a friend, and answered the phone they’d hung up.
I figured they had called me by accident…..
But a few minutes later they were knocking on my door.
I sat down on my front steps as a friend described in tears a crisis that he was going through. As he talked I listened carefully, and prayed.
In that prayer I thanked God he came to me in a time of need
And asked the Lord to keep my mouth shut.
There are moments for us to speak and teach or exhort someone, and moments for us to be silent. When someone comes to your door at 3:00 in the morning, it’s a time for silence.
We are silent because they know what they’re supposed to do. What they need is someone who will listen carefully, and help them do what they are supposed to do.
- By allowing them to vent or be angry
- By asking questions
- By trying to understand the situation instead of trying to fix the situation
- And by pointing them back to God’s truth
These listening moments are about bringing perspective. Often in a crisis we are emotional, overcome by Satan’s attacks, and have lost sight of God’s goodness. Therefore we need someone to calmly and patiently put our eyes back on God.
Satan knows how powerful these listening moments are, so he encourages us to speak when we should actually listen.
Speaking (telling someone what they need to do) instead of listening often proves disastrous
- The person is not in the right mind to receive the truth of God
- Instead of calming things down, we make them more frustrated
- We also become frustrated because they aren’t “listening to us”
- And a great ministry opportunity is wasted
The important thing about listening moments is knowing a time will soon come when God wants you to speak.
Later the next morning my friend came by in a much calmer state of mind. We were able to discuss how the Lord was working in his life through that crisis, and what he needed to do.
Since that time I’ve spent a lot more time sitting on my front steps listening to him explain the frustrations of his crisis (sometimes in anger). But those moments always lead to a time for speaking when he with a submissive spirit listens to what God has to say.