Lent Series

Listening to Our Neighbor


Monday, March 8, 2021

Listening to Our Neighbor

by Scott Stoner

It could be said that Jesus’ whole life was about telling everyone to look outside themselves and listen to their neighbors and love the people around them. —Randall Curtis

In his reflection yesterday, Randall Curtis beautifully introduced our theme for this week of “listening to our neighbor.” Along with focusing on the current theme, I’d like to note that continuing any of the contem-plative practices that Robbin Brent introduced last week will enhance our ability to hear God’s call to listen to and love our neighbor. And as we connect more deeply with the Holy in our lives, a natural fruit of that connection will be to more deeply and genuinely listen to our neighbor.

Jesus taught us that one of the great commandments is to love our neigh-bors as we love ourselves. The reality is that we do tend to do just that. For example, if we are impatient and critical with ourselves, we will tend to be impatient and critical with others. And if we are kind and forgiving of ourselves, we will tend to be that way with others, as well.

As I wrote in an earlier reflection in this devotional, I believe there is a similar connection between how we listen to ourselves and how we listen to our neighbors.We will discover just how hard it is to truly listen to our neighbors, espe-cially when we disagree with them, or when listening to them requires us to stretch outside our comfort zones. But as we see in the Gospel passage for yesterday about Jesus turning over the tables of the money changers, Jesus sometimes has a way of challenging us to listen in ways that can make us uncomfortable.

I pray that we will grow in our ability to listen to our neighbors this week.

Making It Personal: What do you think of the idea that listening to others is an act of love? What do you think of the idea that we can’t fully love some-one until we are willing to truly listen to them? If you asked people who know you well, do you think they would affirm that you are a good listener? 

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