Good Hearing, Bad Speaking

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You may have heard the saying, “some things are easier said than done.”

Well for me saying, “some things are easier heard than said” it would seem just as fitting for a large portion of my life. I had a lot of very bad ear infections when I was a baby and when I was older at one point in time the doctor thought I was deaf. I eventually had surgery on my ears and when I was about two years old, I was able to hear. However, since my hearing was distorted at the age I should have been learning to speak my pronunciation was distorted as well.

It was very frustrating trying to talk to others and what I found really annoying was when I was told to speak clearly when I did not know what that meant. Even though I could hear just fine after my ear issues were corrected, I was not conscious as to how what I said sounded just like someone with an accent. People with a foreign accent are not always conscious of the fact that they have an accent until someone points it out to them. But even if it was clear there was a problem, I wasn’t sure where to put my tongue to make the correct sounds and simply being told to speak clearly didn’t help that.

Fortunately, my parents had me in speech therapy, which was difficult but helpful and after a long time I relearned how to speak more clearly. Although there are still some sounds that are hard for me to imitate my speech has improved a lot because someone didn’t just tell me I was wrong, they took the time to show me step by step what I had to do to correct it. This reminds me of the process of spiritual growth.

The Bible says “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5 But because of sin our ability to hear and reproduce what God has said in our own lives has been distorted. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:5. When we try our best to do our best it isn’t good enough. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6. Yet some of us have been born into circumstances that contain more distortions than others.

Only God knows all of the circumstances of people’s lives so when we are ministering to other’s we should be careful not to assume that everyone has been given the same starting point and abilities that we have and lose our patience helping others. Often we may be tempted to just point out the mistakes in the lives of others without knowing why they are in the situation they are in, or taking the time to invest in them to be a positive influence which can cause more frustration than good. Instead of condemning people for struggling with the Bible in areas that seem easy for us to overcome when we don’t know what distortion that person may have had to deal with, we should be willing to take the time it requires to get to know people and understand that some need a lot more time to understand God’s love and overcome their unique obstacles step by step in much smaller steps than we may be accustomed to.

Just because someone may be slower at catching on to some things does not mean they are failing or not listening to what is said. Progress is progress, however slow it might be. And no matter how hard it is we should not be discouraged in our attempts at helping others or even with ourselves in the process of surrendering to God. “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18 “For though a righteous man may fall seven times, he still gets up; but the wicked stumble in bad times.” Proverbs 24:16 Spiritual growth is not known to be an instant process, but something that increases over time. Be kind to yourself and others, and depend on God to help your spiritual hearing and to also be able to replicate God’s words in your spiritual speaking without distortion in your own life so you can say what God would want you to say.

Picture originally found here

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