A Time to Listen, a Time to Speak

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By lbkherbs
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A Time to Listen, A Time to Speak

Chapter 3 of the book of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is an appropriate time for everything, such as planting and harvesting; building up and breaking down; crying and laughing; getting and losing; making war and making peace. Included in this list, in verse 7, is a time to keep silent and a time to speak. Good advice of course, but just how do we decide when to listen and when to speak?
Like most things, the Bible gives us guidance in this area. Proverbs 18:13 tells us that it’s foolish to speak in a matter in which we have not heard. In other words, we need to hear the whole story, not just a rumor – get the facts. Likewise, James 1:19 tells us to be “swift to hear, slow to speak”. Both of these verses seem to imply that listening is actually more important than speaking. That makes sense to me, since God gave us two ears, and only one mouth.
One of the things that influences how often a person speaks or listens is personality. Extroverts tend to be more talkative and think out loud; introverts tend to be quieter and think a great deal before speaking. You’ll often notice this at meetings. A few of the people do most of the talking. In the article “The Silent May Have Something to Say”, Kelley Holland describes this phenomena and compares a meeting to a tennis match in which a few vocal people talk back and forth , with most heads following those few speakers as they volley ideas. That’s a shame, because silent people often have a lot of good ideas that are not always vocalized.

Another reason people tend to speak or listen is because how they were taught. The book “The Loudest Duck” by Laura Liswood explains that while some people were taught to speak up (“the squeaky wheel gets the grease”), many others were taught jus the opposite, to keep quiet (“the loudest duck gets shot”).

When people speak or…...

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