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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Monday, August 31

If one gives an answer before hearing, it is folly and shame.
—Proverbs 18:13

We’ve all done it. We’ve completed others’ sentences. We’ve answered before we’ve heard the question being asked. Our mind has traveled along a thoroughfare toward a destination we thought someone was headed for, only to find we ended up in different cities.

It’s sometimes hard to hold our tongue and listen to the nuances in conversations so that we can give a proper response at the appropriate time. It’s easier to quickly move someone toward a conclusion, or shift them from their point of view to our own, or simply bring our own impatience to an end.

Besides making us poor listeners, speaking before we have fully heard makes us prey to egotism. When we assume and presume we give vent to our own perceived importance. The subtle, almost hidden sign in this behavior is that our soul is longing for fullness. 

Whenever we feel the need to exert our own self-importance, we can be certain that our spirit is undernourished. We have misplaced our hunger. We have sought fulfillment at the table of human power and influence, rather than at the table of heaven’s assurance and affection. Sadly, we find that even after we have eaten a fat feast of self-importance, we are still hauntingly hungry.

The truth is that we don’t have to have the ready answer, the clever response, the all-knowing explanation in order to prove our worthiness. Rather, we need to bring our soul into the space of God’s presence,where the hunger that stealthily gnaws at us can be sated. 

Then, instead of finding ourselves finishing sentences or speaking precipitously, we will be delighted to see that we are still enough to hear others with an open and spacious heart.

Gracious God, let me bring my soul into your presence where it can partake in a feast of grace.