Do You Listen More And Talk Less?
Three hundred years before Christ, the Greek philosopher Zeno made a statement that he never dreamed would become a powerful weapon for parents everywhere. No doubt your parents quoted Zeno’s words to you whenever as a child you talked too much:
“The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is that we may listen the more and talk the less.”
If ancient Greece had been as noisy as our world today, Zeno might have changed his mind and covered his ears. The Greeks didn’t have the necessities of life that we have, like radios and televisions (both stationary and portable), amplified rock music (120 decibels), telephones and pesky solicitation calls, movies, camcorders and VCRs, and all the other devices that have invaded modern life. Zeno never heard a jet plane (140 decibels) or a power mower (100 decibels), nor did he ever stop his car next to a vehicle inhabited by sinister stereo speakers emitting sounds so loud that the vehicle was shaking. Zeno never spent the night in a motel room with tissue paper walls separating him from the room next door where a TV set was being ignored by a guest who was obviously deaf.
“Listen more and talk less.” Bah, humbug! There are times when about the only way you can protect your sanity and your hearing is to open your mouth and say something, even if it’s only a primal scream.
But the greatest tragedy of life isn’t that people invade our privacy, get on our nerves, and help destroy our delicate hearing apparatus.The greatest tragedy is that there’s so much noise that people can’t hear the things they really need to hear. God is trying to get through to them with the voice of wisdom, but all they hear are the confused communications clutter, foolish voices that lead them farther away from the truth.
A Father’s Exhortation: Acquire Wisdom
My child, listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
Proverbs 1:8 (NLT)
My child, listen— This is the voice of a godly father, urging his son to listen to Wisdom and obey what he hears. Father was the title of preceptor, and son, that of disciple or scholar, among the Jews. But here the reference appears to be to the children of a family; the father and the mother have the principal charge, in the first instance, of their children’s instruction. Note that both the father and the mother have been involved in teaching the boy, and they both warn him not to abandon what he’s been told. It is supposed that these parents have, themselves, the fear of the Lord, and that they are capable of giving the best counsel to their children, and that they set before them a strict example of all godly living. These parents have obeyed the instructions of Moses (Deut. 6:6-9) and have faithfully taught their family the Word of God. In vain do parents give good advice if their own conduct were not consistent? The father occasionally gives instruction; but he is not always in the family, many of those occupations, which are necessary for the family support being carried on abroad. The mother—she is constantly within doors, and to her the regulation of the family belongs; therefore she has and gives laws. The wise man says in effect to every child, “Be obedient to thy mother within, and carefully attend to the instructions of thy father, that thou mayest the better see the reasons of obedience; and learn from him how thou art to get thy bread honestly in the world.”
But what will their children do with all this teaching?
The parents’ desire is that the children obey what they have learned, so that God’s truth will become a lovely ornament to beautify their lives, like a crown on a king or a necklace on a queen.
What you learn from them will crown you with grace
and be a chain of honor around your neck.
Proverbs 1:9 (NLT)
My child, if sinners entice you,
turn your back on them!
Proverbs 1:10 (NLT)
Peer pressure is never good, even if it is positive peer pressure. God should be our sole source of inspiration. If we perceive God speaking to us through a person, then respond positively; but make sure it is God we are responding to and not just the crowd. If we fail to do so and succumb to peer pressure, then when our peers go astray, so will we.
If they should say,
Evildoers: Come on! Everyone, hide and let’s wait to see whom we can beat to a pulp.
We’re going to jump some unsuspecting chumps for no reason at all.
Proverbs 1:11 (VOICE)
Wisdom begins with treating others properly. Don’t give in to the desire to hurt others.
Fear activates Satan the way Faith activates God!
I am a wise son/daughter. I listen carefully to my father’s instructions and I do not forsake my mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace my head and an ornament to adorn my neck.
When sinners entice me to lead me away from the ways of righteousness, I will not give in to them.
I pray this declaration of faith in Jesus’ name, Amen.