I'm preparing a sermon on listening, and I began to wonder, how do we listen these days? Unfortunately social media seems to be less about informing than venting.
Do you ever have your opinion changed because of your friends' posts? We all know people who vent, though. They find every chance to show how stupid other people are, especially those with whom they disagree.
What would happen if we took a deep breath while seeing that FB feed? What if we set aside our prejudices and actually listened to what people are saying?
I know what kinds of comments and articles most of my friends are likely to share. So when I see a post from "so and so," I know what to expect. The same old stuff they always share. I've seen enough of it that I don't need to see any more.
But what if I took another moment to listen to the heart of what is being shared? My friends don't post stuff because they are evil (I hope!). They usually post stuff because they care. By listening, I can come to understand why they care like they do.
Especially when someone is venting, they are showing that they care. Maybe they are misinformed. Maybe they have some less than noble agenda. But often people just want to be heard. They want someone to listen to what they say, and perhaps engage meaningfully with their ideas.
We could use a whole lot more "listeners" in social media.