This is another lesson from a sermon at cornerstonesimi.com. "You can't be a good teacher unless you first become a good student." Or something like that.
Deep stuff. Our own pastor (also Wes's uncle) Darrel Auvenshine is one of the greatest conversationalists I've ever met. He is a wise and good counselor. A while ago, another pastor, Scott Sharman, explained to me why that was. Darrel is a good listener. He goes into a conversation as a student first, a teacher second. He genuinely cares about what you have to say, and he listens and forms a wise and honest opinion before saying anything.
Me on the other hand - well, I'd like to be like that. One day. But right now, I tend to speak before I listen. When I'm listening, I'm also trying to work out what I'm going to say next, so I'm not really fully listening. (There's that focus thing again, popping up to nip me in the rear.) I'm so caught up in thinking about getting MY point across that I don't really listen to THEM. Selfishness. Another major struggle for me.
Also, I think it's a matter of mind vs. heart. I'm thinking more than caring. I do that a lot. It's something I've really been working on lately.
But I really do want to learn to be a better listener. I want to speak less, but speak more thoughtfully. I want to truly care. I want to consider my words well before I say them. I want to be wise!
I think it'll come with learning to slow down, focus, and be more in tune with the Holy Spirit.
The concept of being a student before you can be a teacher doesn't just apply to conversations, though. It applies to everything. If you want to have a solid opinion about something, you'd better listen to some other opinions first and make an informed decision about what you believe. If you want to teach something, you'd better make sure you understand it well first. We shouldn't rush to be teachers. The good teachers are the ones who really take time to learn their stuff first.
And if you haven't done so yet, you should definitely check out cornerstonesimi.com! They have some AMAZING sermons!!! (Cornerstone is Francis Chan's church - the author of Crazy Love.)