Author and pastor Ted Cunningham says, “Social media is a place where people share their opinions without sticking around for the conversation.”
He’s right. A lot of people like to share what they think, but not many will listen to what you think. Watch closely to how people interact with you, and you’ll see what I mean. Do they ask questions to better understand your point of view? And when you answer, do they really listen? Or do you feel like they’d rather argue and win a debate?
Refusing to listen is common in social media, on talk shows, and in politics. But it happens a lot in marriage, in parenting, and in the workplace, too. Refusing to listen is not a smart strategy for life. In fact, the book of Proverbs says it like this: “Answering before listening is both stupid and rude” (18:13, MSG).
That means listening attentively to someone with whom you disagree is both polite and smart. It means you accept another person’s humanity even if you don’t share their beliefs. Listening means, “You matter to me. I want to hear what the world looks like through your eyes.” That’s a beautiful approach to life whether you’re talking to your spouse or to someone on the other side of the political aisle.
You change the world for the better, not through arguing, but through relationship. And you build a relationship by listening. That’s the secret to lasting transformation. Don’t just share your opinion. Stick around for the conversation.