He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
The simple fact of anatomy is that the overwhelming majority of people have ears. The fact is so prevalent that a cliché cropped up saying that we have two ears and one mouth as an indicator that we should listen twice as much as we speak. I think the ratio is off and that still more listening should be done, but that is not to the point. The point is this: the overwhelming majority of people have ears, but it is a small minority who actually hear.
The stereotypes persist. Wives complain that their husbands do not listen. Mothers complain that their children do not listen. Husbands (if they bother to speak) complain that their wives do not listen. We are so eager to be heard and so unwilling to hear.
There is a fundamental disconnect between the realities of listening and hearing. I listen to music and to the leaves being rustled by winds. I listen to my son’s babble and my daughter’s sometimes incomprehensible songs and monologues. These are not things that I need to understand. I can passively absorb the sounds and bask in the feeling of them without needing to comprehend anything. But hearing … hearing is another thing entirely. I hear when my daughter wakes in the middle of the night. I hear when my boss delivers an assignment. I hear when my goal is comprehension and the ability to act on what I hear.
That is what we lack. That is what, too often, I find myself lacking. God speaks and we listen, but we do not hear. We listen to the sound of God’s voice and soothe our souls to sleep. We listen to His commands and nod our agreement with their justice and rightness, but we have no intention of doing anything about it. We have ears to listen, but not ears to hear.
What I need — in all areas of life where what I do matters — is ears to hear. I need ears to hear what God would say to me — to hear and to do what He says. I need ears to hear my wife when she speaks — to hear and to take actions that will correct errors and heal hurts and remind her that she is loved. I need ears to hear my children — to hear what they say and what those thing reveal about the character being formed in my children and what actions I need to take as a father to guide my children to the right path. I need to hear in all of these circumstances and in more.
Lord God, please touch my ears that I might hear. Make the connection between ears and mind and heart and limbs that what is heard would impact the way I think and what I determine to do and what actually is lived out by my actions.