Two weeks ago I wanted to convey the idea that we need to learn to stretch our perceptions, the ways we see things. This is essential for good listening. In the Bible, God listened to Moses and others so well that His perceptions, and his plans, were actually changed! (See Ex. 32: 7-14)
Even Jesus was very responsive to people.
Likewise, we need to listen to, be responsive to, our children, if we are going to effectively parent them. After all, we are made—and remade through Christ—in His image, so we need to act in love. “Love is the fulfillment of the law” says Scripture (Ro. 13: 10). Listening is a major way we can love our neighbor—the one who needs us—as ourselves, even the persons in our own home!
More to the point of this series, when the government in the late 70’s encouraged parents to work overseas to help solve the poverty problem, they were using inside-the-box thinking, and many overseas workers may be trapped in the same thinking, or non-thinking, at the expense of marriage and family relationships.
Last week I quoted from Focus on the Family; now I’d like to repeat these words: focusing your attention, having patience with imperfections. These words suggest we need to stretch beyond our own thoughts and perceptions in order to grasp what’s going on inside another person, even our own child and spouse. We also need to learn to accept (not approve bad behavior) another person, and thus be patient with their imperfections. “Love suffers long and is kind” says the classic hymn to love, I Corinthians 13.
(Ed’s note: Also in this issue, the author made reference to part 1 of this topic, Stretching perceptions, which can be accessed by clicking the link)