This is the fourth in a series of posts entitled ‘Comma or full stop?’ In each post I have been using the above phrase from Coldplay’s song ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall’ to look at what I think it means, as a Christian, to be a comma rather than a full stop. Each post is based on Matt 2:1-12 … part of Matthew’s account of the Christmas story.
So the third thing I am learning is…
3. Learn to listen to others.
The first post in this series highlighted this as the second way God uses to get our attention or speak to us, i.e. through other people. So again, to be a comma rather than a full stop involves growing in humility so that we genuinely listen to others. As Oliver Wendell Holmes, a doctor, once wrote, ‘It is the province of knowledge to speak, and the privilege of wisdom to listen.’
One way in which to listen is to ask questions. This is what the Magi did in Matthew 2. They had the humility to accept that they didn’t have all the answers, and the humility to know that you can actually learn from absolutely anyone … even someone as disturbed as King Herod! That doesn’t mean that you become so open minded that your brains fall out. But it does mean that you learn to recognise, as Rick Warren puts it, that ‘Even a broken clock is right twice a day.’
Recently, someone told me that in the land of the blind he who claims he can see is king. Those who are wise learn to listen instead.