Culture clamors. With all the craziness, conflict and chaos as of late in our nation, seemingly reaching a crescendo, one can wonder “What in the world are we missing?!” Of course, various answers are quick to come to the fore like, Truth… Justice… Equality… Rights… Freedom… Love. Likely all would agree with these to some extent. However, perhaps another word should be added. Ears. The better word might be Listen. We all have ears, true, but with them do we actually listen?

Noise. Noise. Everywhere there is “noise.” Ever notice how loud it gets in a room as more and more people enter and start talking with each other? Each one tries to speak a little louder than the noise around them to be heard. Finally everyone is practically shouting at each other, because the other can’t hear, for all the noise around them. Communication finally breaks down. Messages are lost as thoughts become diffused and scattered. People who get confused by all the chatter, fail to listen and become further divided from others. Meanwhile the noise drones on with even greater amplification in an attempt to catch our attention.

Today in our chaotic culture there is just too much “noise.” It deadens the senses, deafening receptiveness to the outside world. That which we most need – to hear each other and to hear God – is cancelled out. Unintentionally we’ve become “delete dexterous,” our own “cancel culture,” further isolating ourselves from healthy discourse.

The messenger should
matter to us if we want
the message to matter.

In this noise it takes intention to listen, especially when it is to another person. Admittedly, it may even take a lot of effort as well. (No doubt someone may feel the same about you or me!). Key though is seeing value in the other person, whether or not you agree with what they have to say. The messenger should matter to us if we want the message to matter. Unfortunately we are losing our ability to listen when we quickly discount the messenger, sometimes before they even speak. We may “hear” them speak, but do we  truly “listen?”

As for me, I am frequently reminded of my need to listen intentionally, rather than doing so passively. I must actively show my value of the messenger by showing a willingness to actually listen. Multi-tasking activity and various culturally invasive devises are not beneficial to me if I am to have healthy communication. First, I must care.

“Got your ears on, good buddy?” That was the opening call back in the days of CB radio. The same could be asked of you now. Through all the “noise” that clamors, all the mixed signals, are you ready to listen to both God and “Man?” If you truly value both…

Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue,
and let anger straggle along in the rear.

James 1:19 MSG