Waiting to listen

Well, after that nice little friendly discussion on labels, let’s talk about something we’ll all agree on: the Super Bowl!1d0fa6ff-6a95-31ba-bf5d-e7b3b15a16a4


In fact I’ve already discovered an interesting thing about this Super Bowl. If you were even remotely a Bronco, Payton Manning or anti-Sherman fan, it was the most boring Super Bowl ever. It was awful. Couldn’t wait for the commercials. If you were even remotely a Seahawk fan, it was the most fabulous Super Bowl ever! What a defensive display! Kind of depends on your perspective, doesn’t it?

In this, as in so many other matters, our perspective effects out opinions. That’s why the only way you can have a real discussion with someone is to set your own opinions aside for a moment and get in the other person’s shoes. Instead of jumping on the first opportunity to say what you think, try and figure out what they think. What are they really saying and why? You can always pick your opinions back up if someone really wants to know.

There are those waiting to listen, and those who can’t wait to talk. Those waiting to listen are those who feel they have something to learn from everybody. They value everybody, and for that reason, they value everybody’s opinion.

Everyone has a reason for pretty much everything they believe. Instead of bashing them for what you perceive to be the wrong belief, find out why they believe what they believe. In the process, you will undoubtedly learn something you didn’t know, and most likely find some point of agreement – some starting point for dialogue.

Those who are waiting to listen know that God and truth will get along just fine without them. They don’t need to defend what they know; they want to find out what they don’t know. They are curious … eager to learn. Even if it’s a point of view they disagree with, they want to find out more about it and why someone is taking it. In the process, they will probably find out we are not as different as we think.

When Peter writes, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect …” (1 Peter 3:15), he is talking about someone who is waiting to listen. They wouldn’t be asked about their own reason for believing if they hadn’t first been open to hearing the other person’s reason for believing what they believe. It’s human nature. The only way to really get a chance to talk is to wait and listen.

So go ahead, tell me how awful yesterday’s Super Bowl was; you probably don’t even want to know what I think.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from this amazing young man.
Click here for his story.


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23 Responses to Waiting to listen

  1. TimC says:

    The whole “anti-Sherman” thing is a classic example of people making a knee-jerk judgment without bothering to listen, and think.
    For instance, anyone who has never had made an adrenaline fueled play will never understand the post-game eruption that triggered the media brouhaha. The flip side is that anyone who has made an adrenaline fueled play will understand intrinsically what was happening. I have been fortunate to have that experience and so I totally understand – and empathize.
    Richard Sherman is unbelievably great guy, and what you heard, and may have misunderstood, was adrenaline talking. It probably would have been wise for him to bite his tongue, but someone put a microphone in his face.
    It’s perspective that matters.
    Second perspective thing on the game: There are many of the Seahawks who have an outspoken, unblinking faith in Jesus Christ. They are true believers who are out there in the market place, using every ounce of ability that God has given them, and not being ashamed to tell people what God has done for them.
    From that perspective, it was a great game to watch.
    And it reminded me of a young man facing up to a giant that everyone thought was unbeatable.
    And I have my giants to face.

    • bobbobs60 says:

      Richard Sherman goes off on Peyton Manning … in a good way.
      (USA Today Sports)

      The last time Peyton Manning lost a Super Bowl, he was criticized (unfairly) for leaving the field before shaking hands with the other team. This time, he’s getting praised as a class act from an unlikely source.

      Richard Sherman, who spent his time after the NFC championship game taking shots at San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, was doing the exact opposite on Sunday, singing Peyton Manning’s praises in the aftermath of his team’s 43-8 blowout in Super Bowl XLVIII. The chatty Seahawks cornerback was on ESPN’s Mike & Mike talking about how Manning found him after the game to ask about the injury Sherman suffered late in the game. (Quotes via PFT.)

      “He was really concerned about my well-being. After a game like that, a guy who’s still classy enough to say ‘How are you doing?’ To show that kind of concern for an opponent shows a lot of humility and class.
      “[…] He’s a Hall of Fame player, he’s a living legend, he’s a record-holding quarterback, he’s a Super Bowl champion, he’s been a Super Bowl MVP.”


  2. KaT H. says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, John. That was one LONG boring SuperBowl 🙂

    • jwfisch says:

      Did I say that? I was rooting for the Seahawks. I loved every minute of it! We obviously know who you were rooting for! 🙂

  3. sarah says:

    Interesting response, KaT H., as John DIDN’T tell us what he thought…point taken, John!

  4. bobbobs60 says:

    Hi John,
    Sounds as if you might be in a bit of a funk.
    Let Groucho Marx help lift your spirits:
    “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas.
    How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know!”

  5. Maybe that’s why Jesus spoke in parables, because everyone likes a good story. Only don’t make your story too long. When someone tells me a story that lasts too long, I start wanting to insert funny comments into it in order to keep myself entertained, which is probably annoying to the person telling the story, but what else can I do? Stand there and look bored? Pretend to be interested and be a hypocrite? I do try to be a good listener.

    Jesus told short, succinct stories that were sometimes offensive but always made people think. Shouldn’t we follow His example?

  6. Peter Leenheer says:

    It seems to me that John’s point is that he is waiting to see who will actually gets his point, before they jump all over him for what he didn’t say! I hear a man who feels like he is not heard….kind of like a voice crying in the wilderness. My heart goes out to him,
    It is not a question of whether our opinions should be expressed or not. It is whether I have heard/read and understood the point that was made before I respond with what I think. This tool of listening saved my marriage because I realized that my point was not as important as I thought it was. What was important that my wife realized I understood what she said. It seems to me that is the love God is talking about……waiting to listen.

  7. Actually, John, I do want to know what you think.

  8. Carole in Midland says:

    John, I love your gentle soul.
    I was sad to read the post from a reader a day or so ago who suggested that someone who lashed out about the original Catch on labels and said he was disassociating from the Catch group perhaps should do just that. We need to remember that these posts are “snapshots” of people, not movie reels of their whole lives… trust me, the poster who lashed out hardest that day has to overcome obstacles in his life everyday that (to quote Letterman) I wouldn’t give to a monkey on a rock (in part because I happen to LIKE monkeys…). I. for one, would hate to lose him. We can all be rather unlovable at times; that’s probably when we need to be loved MOST, whether we like/accept that love or not! Thankfully, another’s acceptance of our love has nothing to do with our giving it. The lashout was primarily at John; the rest of us just caught the backblow. If John can look past the post to the poster’s internal conflict and the deeper matter, then we can do no less. In fact, we are specifically directed NOT to take up offenses that are not aimed at us. Grace to forgive is given to the one who is offended. In this case, I think the only offended party is the poster – we just have assure him that whatever his decision, he is loved here.

  9. Joyce H says:

    Bravo, John. I grew up in an environment where the prevailing attitude was, “I have the truth and it’s my God-given obligation to share it with you. If you don’t agree with me then I obviously have not explained myself well enough, so let me repeat it for you. If you still don’t agree, well then, you must be hard of hearing, so let me just RAISE MY VOICE!” Some of the commenters on your previous post, were schooled in the same thinking.

    Listening is a learned skill that requires the discipline of humility to which we are called in Philippians 2.

  10. Tom Christian says:

    I’d much rather watch 2 teams in a close game than a game like yesterday. It’s just more interesting. Likewise, I’d rather listen to somebody I don’t agree with but I love. My first experience with this was a friend who’s brother is Gay. I noticed that even though I didn’t agree with his lifestyle, my feelings about my beliefs were no longer so cut-and-dry. The next time was in a fellowship where we all shared a common pain and our affiliations outside of the group were specifically not discussed by tradition. I found myself loving people who I did not before ever associate with. Their Liberal, Jewish, Gay, Agnostic, whatever, turned out to be so much less important than my love for them. It was disorienting at first. The next thing I noticed was that as I read my bible I began seeing and hearing things that before I just didn’t see or hear. Weird.

  11. KaT H. says:

    My apologies, Sarah, as I read today’s CATCH pre-caffeine 😉

    • sarah says:

      No problem, KaT H…I certainly forgive you as I am guilty of “not listening” all the time! Now, the pre-caffeine thing…it’ll get you every time!! 🙂

  12. Andrew P. says:

    Well, John, I’m a Cowboys fan, and Dallas 52 – Buffalo 17 (yes, that was a long time ago) was actually pretty boring! 🙂

    Love your observation to the effect that maybe we aren’t as different as we tend to think. Many years ago, I had to deal by phone with a guy from New York. I always thought he was mad at me about something. I finally had the opportunity to meet him and sit across the table from him. From there, I observed the twinkle in his eye; turns out he wasn’t mad about anything! I was just hearing the notorious gruffness of voice that characterizes many (certainly not all) native New Yorkers.

    From that I learned an important lesson about not assuming things so quickly. (Can’t say I never assume anything — that would be going way too far — but I don’t assume nearly as much as I did when I was younger.) I came to the conclusion that people are pretty much the same wherever you go — they’re just folks. Listen carefully with every intention of getting along in harmony, and things usually work out pretty well.

  13. Lisa in Sunland says:

    Interesting that people felt they could know your point of view from your just listing two perspectives on the game. Looks like you gave us an extra object lesson on “listening”! “Super” Bowl – maybe not so much (mostly because I don’t like football), but Super Catch – most definitely! Thank you John, for trying to make us think; as well as to listen, and to love.

  14. Marc says:

    John, actually I didn’t see the Super Bowl. I DID see the Puppy Bowl and was bowled over by the cuteness there.

    And thanks for getting us all to think….and love.

  15. Ralph Gaily says:

    Sometimes the obvious avoidance of an answer to an honest question (the “can of worms” question the other day), speaks louder than the avoided answer…. whatever it may have been. I’m sadly disappointed in you, John. Ralph Gaily

  16. We had a nice little party, the Chicken my wife and I prepared was wonderful as well as the finger foods brought in by friends.
    The wine was chilled and the beer was cold.
    Everything was perfectly set for a exciting game.
    IU beat Michigan

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