Listen with your heart.

I have been in “class,” so to speak. The Holy Spirit has revealed many things to me about functioning as a believer in everyday life situations.  I once heard that if a person is not in conditions that could deem challenging, they are not growing. In other words, if I am never around other people who may see the world through a different lens than I do, how will I ever learn to communicate with them? Think about it in terms of working out; if I lift my arm to work out my bicep without weight in my hand or even use self-resistance, I will not build the muscle. Do you get what I mean? Well, I have put myself in these types of situations and I am gaining understanding.  

I have learned that if I want to make a difference at my workplace, the store, or even in a prayer meeting, I need to check my attitude.  It is simple, I cannot focus on bringing the Kingdom of Heaven into the situation if I have a heart (or eyes) that is clouded. And truthfully, my heart has been cloudy. I was not even aware of my ‘attitude’ until I started to ‘get involved in my community. I am want to be a part of bringing the positive change that is needed in our Nation.

A week ago my husband, Bob, shared with me a conversation he had with another man. And to my surprise, the other person Bob was talking to told him something that saddens my heart. He said, “You can’t talk to them; they’re the enemy.” That sort of statement isn’t how the Bible instructs us to be.  

Matthew 7:1-2 ESV “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Philippians 2:3 NCV  When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves.

As a follower of Jesus, we only have one enemy, and he prowls like a lion looking to attack (1 Peter 5:8).  With a mindset like this person has, this Nation will continue to struggle to be united.

I get it; we have been trained to think this way; you are for what I am for – or you’re against me. Right? Proverbs 18:2 says a fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion. I don’t want to be that fool. So I need to learn to see others as Jesus does.

Last night my husband and I went to our local city council meeting. I attend because I want to learn what is going on in my community.  But I also want to pray for my community. Before COVID, the room was full of people, and truthfully it was hard for me to connect my heart with heaven to pray. Now with only a hand full of people, it is a bit easier. I have a few thoughts about that, but I will share that in another post. Each time I’ve been in these meetings, I am learning new things. They are so small that they could go unnoticed if I weren’t paying attention. But I am purposed not to let my emotions get pulled. And I am learning more about my attitude. 

You probably can imagine issues on the council’s agenda are considered “hot topics.”  Subjects that stir up emotions for almost everyone, not just in our community but in our Nation. And yes, even me. But as the discussion was getting heated, I tried not to partner my emotions with that of the room. And something unique happened. Something that I haven’t felt since the first time I started going to these meetings. I felt God’s love for each person. And I could genuinely listen with my heart, to hear theirs. I could hear those who supported and those who opposed the “resolution.” I truly sensed that each person had a sincere concern for the community. I even heard (between the lines) that they have struggled this past year, just like all of us. We all have been unable to have our “normal” festivals and events that we have grown to look forward to in our county, and it is taking its toll on all of us.

Seeing each of them through the lens of heaven, I could pray a heartfelt prayer for each person.  Listen, we need to stop thinking of other people as our “enemy.” That is demonic to feel that way. If we want to be a part of the positive change in our world, we need to see each person as Christ sees us – with love. And listen to each other with our hearts. When we do this, we can pray a prayer rooted in heaven and not speak word curses rooted in hell.          

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