Hear what they hear

If we could stand in someone else’s shoes and hear what they hear…

slide #5In our video, a man just heard he lost his job. Imagine hearing that, and you are a middle-aged man with a family to support, and you’ve had that job for 20 years, and it’s a job requiring very unique skills that you have learned and targeted to that specific situation, and there are no other jobs quite like that one out there. You specialized yourself right out of the job market that, of course, you never thought you would be in. You’re going to have to take a non-skilled job — or two — at non-skilled pay. Not to mention the humiliation. That’s what he’s feeling. Right now it’s just what he heard we’re thinking about, and it’s ringing in his head. If you could only hear what he hears…

slide #3The little boy, trailing behind in the video, has a learning difference. He’s smart, but he can’t access that smartness so that it connects with the language and math centers in his brain. He’s smart, but the tests won’t tell anyone that. He’s smart, but the intellectually disabled kids in the special ed group don’t know that. Won’t know that. Neither does he. He must be like them, he thinks. Why else would he be in this group? He’s smart, but all he knows is that he is behind. Way behind. If he can’t talk quite right, it’s because he can’t hear quite right, or maybe he can’t process what he hears. He hears it, but maybe to us it would sound like gibberish, or distortion, or like lots of words jumbled together. In a few years, he’ll be thinking trade school, or, if he’s really mad by then, criminal activity. What do most of the people in prison hear? Chances are they’ve never heard that they are smart, or talented, or bright, or good looking. What you hear can make or break who you are. If you could only hear what he hears…

What if she can’t hear anything? Could you stand inside those shoes? What would that be like? Can you only imagine? What if it’s a beautiful girl you fell in love with who can’t hear anything. If you really loved her, you would learn sign language in a heartbeat. But what if he wasn’t so beautiful, would you learn it anyway, because you see his beauty in other ways? If you could hear what the people around you hear every day (or don’t hear), it might break your heart. Knowing them as you do, imagine what the people in your life are hearing, and if you can’t imagine, ask them. Go on, ask them. Ask what they heard today that made them happy or sad. Imagine someone hearing they are a miserable failure every day. Even if it’s nothing, everyone’s hearing something. If you could only hear what she hears…

As bearers of the Gospel of Welcome, we want to learn to stand inside someone else’s shoes and hear what they hear. If you can’t even try to do that, or you don’t care, the gospel will not be very welcome. The gospel might even be hurtful or abusive. The gospel will be how we bring it, because we are the gospel to those who don’t know it. We have a pretty big responsibility.

Our responsibility at the Catch is to help you carry the Gospel of Welcome where you live and work and play. It’s what we are committed to doing, and we’re learning how to do it better all the time, and how to create better resources to help you be the Gospel of Welcome in your corner of the world. But that costs — especially when you are doing it full time, as we are. That’s why we are running a membership campaign right now. Becoming a MemberPartner will inspire you to be a better representation of the Gospel of Welcome; it will provide you with more contact with us, and more resources, and it will help us meet our expenses and grow into the future. Clicking on the video screen below will take you to our contribution page where you can see the video we are talking about and find an appropriate amount for you to commit monthly to the Catch. Or, if you prefer, at the bottom of that same page is a link to where you can make a one-time donation as well.

But whatever you do, step into the shoes of the people in your day today and ask God to help you hear what they hear. He’s very good at this kind of thing.


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2 Responses to Hear what they hear

  1. Perspective
    by Chuck. Swindoll

    What is perspective?

    Well, it’s obviously related to the way we view something. The term literally suggests “looking through . . . seeing clearly.” One who views life through perspective lenses has the capacity to see things in their true relations or relative importance. He sees the big picture. She is able to distinguish the incidental from the essential . . . the temporary from the eternal . . . the partial from the whole . . . the trees from the forest.

    The artist without perspective is, in Shakespeare’s words, “weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable.” The leader without it is visionless, intimidated, vulnerable, and overly concerned with public opinion.

    Perspective, you see, adds a breath of fresh air to the otherwise suffocating demands of life. It opens new dimensions that enable us to cope with the predictable . . . it eases the tyranny of the urgent. Perspective provides needed space.

    Perspective encourages the new mother: “Life is more than changing diapers, warming bottles, and rocking babies to sleep.” It helps convince the young medical intern “these long months of training and sleepless nights are worth it all. Stay alert. Your whole future is at stake.”

    To the struggling businessman who has a tough series of weeks, perspective brings hope and the promise of a brighter day tomorrow.

    And who needs perspective more than teachers? Day in and day out, the endless grind of the classroom can drain the river of determination and creativity until it becomes a mere trickle of frustration and discouragement. But let that educator catch a renewed glimpse of the impact his or her life is having upon students and the ultimate difference it will make in their future . . . and the flow of new ideas will likely return in torrents.

    Many things help prompt perspective. Quietness. A walk in a forest. Time spent along the roaring surf. A view from a mountain. Poetry. Travel. A stroll through an old graveyard. An evening beside a fireplace. Camping out under the stars. A visit to historical landmarks. Protracted times of prayer. Deep, profound strains of music. Meaningful worship. Meditation upon Scriptures. A leisurely drive at sunset.

    On such occasions time stands still. The chips of insignificance fall away as the broad images of truth emerge in the monuments of our minds. We begin to see more clearly as the fog lifts . . . and we are running no longer. Or confused. Or angry. Or overwhelmed. Or afraid.

    Could such places of perspective be considered “shelters of the Most High”? When we are there, could we be “abiding in the shadow of the Almighty” which David mentions in Psalm 91?

    If so, isn’t it about time you found a shelter of perspective in His shadow?

    Hebrews 12:13; Psalm 91:12


  2. LW Warfel says:

    Such beautiful truth here! Thanks, John.

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