The golden rule of friendship: listening

The words of Jesus in Luke 6:31 are known as the Golden Rule, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”

 

David Augburger suggested a golden rule of friendship, “Listen to others as you would have them listen to you.” Listening helps establish and continue friendships.

Sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Stephen Covey observed, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, rather they listen with the intent to reply.” Understanding is often lost, and the empathy and help that can come from understanding.

Rather than being ready to speak, a friend will be first ready to listen. Alfred Brendel discovered, “The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent.” When we are silent we are more able to listen.

Author Max Lucado wrote, “Our ears, unlike our eyes, do not have lids. They are to remain open, but how easily they close.” The one who made the “seeing eye and hearing ear” wants us to use them in relating to him.

The believer in God is challenged to hear and listen. A Bible verse, Deuteronomy 6:4 is a prominent call of truth. “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD.” Known as the “Shema” to the Hebrews, it is a powerful statement in the Bible to adhere to.

The last book of the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, contains the phrase, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith …” at least seven times. As Jesus promised, the Spirit of Truth will lead and guide us to more truth.

While hearing the word of God inspires more faith, it is not enough just to hear. It is all to easy to become “forgetful hearers,” therefore James advised, “be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only.”

In this age of information, when we are bombarded with media and entertainment clamoring for our attention, it is important to hear the words forever settled in heaven. The result will be blessed hope, obedient faith, prayers heard and needs provided, and eternal life.

Remember that sometimes God is silent because he is listening. I’m grateful that the Lord hears us when we pray. He made this challenge in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things.”

I Peter 5:7 invites us to cast our care on the Lord, because he cares for us. That caring and compassion is embodied in his listening to our prayers, and the powerful answers he provides.

Keep your friends and make new ones by listening. Jesus said, “I have called you friends.” He said that after declaring, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” That is the ultimate love he showed us. He demonstrates it daily by listening.

Mitch Glover is pastor of the Sterling Pentecostal Church located on Swanson River Road at Entrada. Services on Sunday include Bible classes for all ages at 10:00 a.m. and worship at 11:00 a.m. Thursday Bible study is at 7:00 p.m. (sterlingpentecostalchurch.com)

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