Hearing Other Voices   2 comments

Ear. Good for listening.

Ear. Good for listening. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A wise person once told me that it is extremely important to listen to voices that are different from your own.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to do exactly that at a meeting.  I am a person who has spent most of my life in Iowa and Nebraska.  While I have traveled internationally and throughout our nation, I would say that I have a somewhat limited understanding of individuals who are not from the center of the United States.  I have been raised a Christian and lived my entire life as a Christian.  I used to have a Jewish co-worker but beyond that, I have not had any depth of exposure to a contemporary member of the Jewish faith.  Yesterday changed that for me.  I was able to listen to a local Rabbi and a Jewish member of the Interfaith Alliance as they shared their perspectives of the Israeli-Arab conflict.  As I sat and listened to their remarks and responses to questions, I was reminded of what that wise person from my past had said.

I think that one of the most important traits of a leader and a Christian is to be able to  listen to different voices.  I have placed the word “listen” in bold because I think that there is more depth to that word than many of us practice.  We may sit and attempt to believe attentive as people share words with us but I am not always sure that we listen.  Especially if the individual is expressing thoughts that are different from our own or with which we strongly disagree.  We are already trying to prepare our persuasive comments to get the individual(s) to convert to our way of thinking or arguments to refute their positions.

When we take the time to sit and listen, we are often surprised by the results.  In some situations, we may find that we are not that different from the person with whom we disagree or have different views.  Other situations may lead us to increase the depth of understanding we have in regards to this person and/or the individual’s viewpoint.  We may never agree with the position(s) that the individual takes but we will be given the opportunity to change our opinion of the individual and gain an understanding of why they so passionately feel the way they do.  In all of it, we grow.

So I encourage leaders and Christians alike to seek out voices that are different from your own.   Listen to what those voices have to share.  It will only be to your benefit.


2 responses to “Hearing Other Voices

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  1. Great words of wisdom to share!

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