What conversations are you having over and over again?
May 26, 2017, 5:00 AM

What conversations are you having over and over again? Why do these conversations continue to arise? The issue isn’t always “the issue.” Sometimes we spend all of our emotional energy and focus discussing problems while completely missing the point. An argument might break out over someone coming home late when the real issue that goes unaddressed is a lack of trust. A parent frustrated with their teen for not cleaning their room turns into a conflict over skirted responsibilities, however, in the eyes of the teen it is really about how they feel inadequate.


Because the deeper heart issues don’t get touched upon, it often feels like we are engaging in the same conversations over and over again with little to no resolution. So, how do we stop having the conversations we don’t need to have and engage in the ones that we do? It starts with listening, validating, and then responding to the individual. We are so quick to respond or offer up a rebuttal that we seldom hear what the other person is really saying. True understanding requires listening to take place.


My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20

This is a challenge many of us face because when there is tension and we feel misunderstood we either become defensive or go on the offense. The words of others begin to sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown. All we hear is “wah wah…wah wah wah…” We take everything so personal, which leads us down a path of defensive insecurity. Then there are those times when we feel backed into a corner and we can’t help but lash out. We respond in anger and cynicism. We point out everyone else’s flaws regardless of the response.


This is why some of us tip toe around the issues. We are afraid that if we ‘go there’ we might not be able to get back. As I have said before it’s possible to win a lot of arguments while, losing relationships. The depth we long for in our relationships depends on learning the lost art of seeking to understand before being heard. This can only occur if we are willing to pause, to be quiet, to listen and to empathize. It requires us to understand there is a weight to our words. The things we say make a difference. But, what has the greatest impact on another person is when they know they are being heard. We need to practice the discipline of not having the last word. Our words are to be used to bring life and not prove a point. In the space between listening and speaking, we suspend judgment, focus on the person and mine for meaning.


When we do speak, it is essential that we listen to our own words. They serve as a great revealer. They shine light on the health of our heart. The connection between our mouth and our heart is seen throughout Scripture. “But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man.” Matthew 15:18 Our mouth has the capacity to affect our heart. Our mouth speaks based upon what the heart is full of. In our quest to engage our relationships and the world around us, tending to our hearts is necessary. The goal is for God’s love to flood our heart in such a way that our mouth becomes a fountain of life.


This is my Prayer: Father God, may I be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Lord help me to reflect on what I am hearing, rather than respond.  Jesus help me to display Your heart in my relationship with others. In Your name Jesus, Amen.