by Iswamo Kapalu
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” James 1:19
The 21st century has revolutionised the way the world is able to communicate. The internet and social media have enabled us to shrink the world and have brought the most distant of friends, family and strangers within the reach of our fingertips.
Yet while the technological means for quick and efficient communication are more available than ever, it seems communication is more absent than ever. Ours is a world where there is much talking, but very little genuine listening. Such a world – where everyone talks, and no one listens – is one in which no one is heard.
The result is a world in which, the genuine need to be heard, that exists in every human heart, is not met. As such people feel the need to be increasingly extreme in the way they convey their ideas, thoughts and wishes. They flee to corners of society where only the like-minded live, in hopes of being heard and insulate themselves from the enriching diversity of thought that exists in “the other.”
The corrosive and polarizing effect of society has been evident for all to see. Suspicion as to the motives of others is rife and the lack of dialogue has made all sides of most debates mutually radicalizing.
This cycle can be broken if we all commit ourselves to the practice of genuine listening. And for this we can surely depend on a God who hears billions of prayers a day.
Open our ears and hearts to our brothers and sisters. Teach us to listen with patience and a genuine desire to hear the other and to be slow to anger.