My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
I recently attended a memorial service for my great-uncle Mike. There was a time for people to share their memories of him and I noticed a theme. What people remembered most about him were
1. His brilliance...he had more knowledge in his head than almost anyone I've ever met.
2. His amazing ability to listen to others. Even as a child, I knew he was listening to what I had to say and that he actually cared about what I was saying.
While people were amazed by the brilliance, it was his innate ability to listen that really touched people. He listened, truly listened, and got to know the heart of the person he was talking to.
More often than not, we find huge chasms created by people of all beliefs and political associations. The focus is on shouting angrily without hearing the person we're shouting at or even really knowing the heart beating inside that person.
If we as a society would listen twice as much as we speak, truly listen for what the heart of the other person is saying and waste less time on our anger, we may not agree with what the other person's opinion is. But perhaps we'd find some compassion for the person speaking to us.
In turn, our ability to listen to the other person may foster respect in them toward us and bridges would be build between those with opposing viewpoints. If that were to be accomplished in our current society, imagine the ability we could have to solve the struggles we face!