How would you like to “read” 12 books this year without even owning a book?  Each week we post videos of our reflections on the book of the month a. This month, we are learning the “9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations”.

Here is one of the videos we posted this week on the equipHER Facebook page – the art of listening. Please join us anytime, you are an important part of the conversation!

“I was just trying to be encouraging.” I told my husband (with a pout) after he pulled me aside during a dinner party to tell me I had interrupted a friend before they barely had a chance to tell their story. Somehow, my husband and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on my conversation style. He thought I was being rude, and I thought I was rescuing the person from the isolation one can feel sharing personal details.

After a good amount of reflection, and some more pouting (ineffective, might I say) I realized my husband was right.

Not only do I interrupt people to encourage. I realized during my time of reflection and observation that I also interrupt to:

  • Add content
  • Tell the person’s story for them (because somehow, I know it better than they do)
  • Share my opinion, ideas or advice
  • Jump to their defense and fight their battle

If I have done this to you, all I can do is apologize and tell you, I am working on being a better listener who respects the speaker ability to tell their own story. You don’t need my help and if you do, you will ask me for it.

Interruption is also common in workplace teams. I have been on teams where people didn’t hear or reflect on anything the speaker was saying, they were simply waiting for the speaker to breathe so they could give their own opinion or ideas.

Do you see yourself in these reflections? If you do, don’t worry, this is human nature. We have experiences and opinions to share. This isn’t all bad.

The question to answer is: When to speak and when to be silent?

Throughout history people have been trying to answer this question.

On a recent trip to Ireland, we visited several monasteries that were established around the 4th century (maybe earlier). From the beginning, Monks have had the highest regard for silence. After reading the Monks guidelines for speaking, my 16-year-old said: “If you did all these things, you would rarely speak.” He might be onto something.

Here are the 5 standard guidelines for speech (Summarized): 

1. Is it true?

2. Is it kind?

3. Is it helpful?

4. Is it conducive to harmony?

5. Is it spoken at the right time?

The Bible is also filled with teaching about speaking. I found at least 60 scriptures on the benefits of listening and silence. As we close today’s blog, here are a few scriptures to consideration and meditate on:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20 ESV)

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Proverbs 17:18 ESV)

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 29:20 ESV)

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (Proverbs 18:2 ESV)

The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. (Proverbs 16:21 ESV) 

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4 ESV)

By: Angela Craig

The post “I am sorry I interrupted you but I had something important to say…lessons I have learned about silence.” appeared first on Angela’s Website on September 7, 2015.

Angela has had the honor for the last 10 years to serve as the Women’s Director at the NW Ministry Network. With a degree in Ministry Leadership and a Masters in Organizational Leadership, Angela is passionate about change through learning communities. This year, Angela has begun a new adventure with Jesus as the church planter. Angela writes: “What do I love about Pursuit? There is no other place like it! We are a global community of people gathering online and in PCL communities around the world. Our passion is to pursuing a life of meaning and purpose in Christ.”

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