SILNET

For all you crossworders or Scrabble players this might make more sense. But did you realize the words “silent” and “listen” share the exact same letters, the exact same number of times? Just for protection I searched “SILNET” on the Internet and the only hit was for a silicone sealer—so I do not believe I am in danger of a trademark violation with this blog.

I have adopted the made-up acronym “SILNET” as a reminder to myself that I cannot really listen to someone if I am not silent. I have evidence of this being true in that I have been guilty of talking when someone else really just wanted me to listen to them. I have also realized I am not really silently listening to someone when my thoughts are not focused on them; this is the old “Squirrel” syndrome. Even if I am silent but my brain is focused on what to have for lunch, I am not really listening.

Not sure about any of you, but I cannot watch the cable TV news shows where there is a panel of “experts”. It seems without fail that all the panelists do is talk over each other and never take the time to be silent and listen to the others. By they way, I am not advocating that listening means condoning or agreeing with the other person; I am advocating that it is good communication and quite frankly good manners.

Working at an elementary school the number one problem I hear from teachers and others who work directly with the students is that they will not appropriately be silent and listen. I wonder where they learn this from at such a young age?

In conducting pre-marital and marital counseling over the years, I have concluded that most often the conflict is not about finances, it is not about intimacy, it is not about differing goals. No, it is because one or both will not be silent and listen to their partner.

Even in this age of social media the concept is displayed. Just read a thread on Twitter or Facebook concerning a controversial issue and you will easily see that many people are not being silent, and they are not listening before inputting their opinion. It is a silent argument often accompanied by the protection of anonymity.

I believe Paul gives us sage advice in James 1:19 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Paul gives us a progression here in that listening is the number one priority, then when (and if) the proper opportunity presents itself we can speak and if we do those two things we will not often become angry. I can almost paraphrase him to use the cliché “let’s agree to disagree”. But, go back to the beginning of the verse where Paul says “My dear brothers and sisters” I take that to be a phrase of endearment, and phrase of love. So, we are to listen, speak, even disagree in love.

Here is an invitation: As I interact with you, be it in person or through social media, I invite you when I am not silent and listening to directly tell me SILNET!

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