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When you are listening to someone . . .

I have been thinking about the unity of several messages that each supports the others. Recently, Bobby Schuller (Hour or Power, Crystal Cathedral Ministries) spoke of the unfortunate tendency of some people to always respond to someone's joyous sharing of something by 'one upping' the speaker. You tell that you read a book this month; she reacts by telling that she read three books. Someone shares that they recently ran a 5k race, and he reports that he just did a 10k.

One of my oft-repeated phrases is to 'leave your story at the door'. This means that when you are listening to someone, just listen! Don't be in such a rush to interrupt by telling your own story. So you ran a 10k race? The person who ran the 5k isn't ready to think about YOUR race . . . he wants you to share in his being proud of his own accomplishment. So share it with him!

Romans 12: 14 says, "Laugh with your happy friends when they are happy." (The Message) As Christians, we take this advice from Paul to mean that we support the joy and the happiness of others without having to draw attention away from them to ourselves. We are delighted that a friend got a promotion at work. We are happy to hear that a friend's daughter got the new job she wanted.

Another verse from Paul says, "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." (Romans 12:9, The Message) Wow! Love from the center of who I am! If I truly show love to others, I am truly happy for them. I don't try to top their story with one of my own.

Many years ago, I wrote a list of five things that I consider to be Key Essentials in our Care and Kindness movement. The first one says, "I have the capacities, qualities and abilities that can brighten others’ lives, or help them face challenges." I believe that there is no one so young or so old; no one is so poor, so homely, or uneducated that he can’t encourage another.

Every living human being can lift another’s spirits. Everyone is qualified to brighten someone's eyes and to freshen someone's outlook.

So . . . these are my musings. I encourage you to ponder them as well. How loving can you be? How much kindness can you show?


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