Learning To Listen & Be Heard

I've been trying to keep up with the goings on in the world around me lately, and to do so I've had to break my self-imposed fast on news and news-related things.  

It's not been easy, mind you, but I've decided that since we're entering into an election year... I need to be more informed in spite of what it does to my blood pressure.  

I'm not going overboard here, but once a day, I go to some trusted news sources and read the briefings on breaking news, both locally and globally.  It's a mess out there, friends.  Take it from me.  

But I'm learning some things as I take in all of the chaos and negativity that is constantly being spun by the various and sundry news media outlets.  

I'm learning that most of us have grown weary of poor behavior, lies and nonsense from our elected officials.  We're growing resistant to manipulation and subterfuge.  We're longing for hope.  

I'm also learning how important it is to hear from people on the margins, and how we need to practice listening to them.  This practice is one of the keys to a just and peaceful world.  

And there may come a day when the practice of listening to those we may not agree with completely will be to our benefit---when we find that the voice from the margins is our own.   

I  read an excellent quote the other day in my daily readings from the philosopher John Stuart Mills:  
If all mankind, minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.  
I  believe one of the main reasons why we are in the current political and social climate that we are in is because we stopped listening to one another... really listening.  

We have forgotten the Golden Rule, which comes from the heart and voice of Jesus himself, who said:  
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Jesus took all of the 613 laws from the Jewish Torah, and all of the prophetic writings from the Hebrew tradition and summed it up in one sentence.  And I would distill it down to this:  Listen.  

May you find opportunities to listen today.  May you step away from any echo chambers you've entered into, and hear the voices of those who may even make you uncomfortable.  May you listen and truly hear, as you would desire to be heard.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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