The Tragedy of NOT Listening

I am compelled to write again today in response to recent news events, some of which you have likely heard about by now.  Last evening, there was a shooting just across from Radford University (leading to a campus lockdown) where one was shot to death and the gunman still at large.  Today, we hear of this shooting in Binghamton, New York (near campuses there too), where it is initially being reported that at least 13 have been killed in a hostage like situation.  Last week, there were 8 shot to death in a North Carolina nursing home massacre.  You may wish to also reference my 03-11-09 blog article about several other shootings in early March. (  What is going on in America?  Certainly, crimes take place every day in various locations, but why so many shootings and often multiple deaths?  Are we learning?  Are we listening?


How is it that you move from simply hearing information to actually listening and properly responding to it?  Listening, by definition, means that you are “hearing something with thoughtful attention.”  If there is an immediate danger around you, most likely you will be paying more attention for your own safety.  However, if you are merely reacting in fear or devastated and defeated by any tragedy (or any difficulty for that matter), you will be limited in what you can hear and likely unable to thoughtfully listen.   That becomes its own tragedy.  In fact, if we are not learning, changing and growing from the events in our lives (and particularly the tragedies), we have given in to the circumstances, given over to the control of others, or given up hope for the future.  We would then have succumbed to this tragedy of NOT listening.


Not listening means that more tragedy will likely come.  This is true in a broader sense as well as in particular details and situations.  It is also true that we need to be listening to the people around us, particularly those who are obviously struggling (you may wish to review my poem, “Learn to Prevail:  32 to 33,” which can be found at the tab above).  Personally, I am understanding something of the struggle to get people to listen.  I have found that there are many obstacles to really listening built into our culture and society.  In fact, there are obstacles keeping you from really listening to the most important information that you need to know and to which you must respond.


Dear friend, there is One Who is more than willing to listen to you, even if nobody else will.  He will not simply listen, though, if you come to Him with your own agenda.  Your Creator took the place of God’s wrath toward your sin and died for you.  He was buried and soon rose from the dead and He will be coming again soon.  Please be listening and please be ready to meet Him or else you will face His wrath and pure Justice!


Jesus Christ calls people to come to Him and learn from Him (see Matthew 11:28-30).  The LORD will hear the prayers of the righteous (see Psalm 34:15).  Jesus often spoke of the need to have ears to hear (that is, to listen and act upon) such as in Matthew 13:9 and 43.    Consider also what the LORD said to the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 33 and verse 3:


“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”


America, the world, and you dear reader, needs to be listening.  We can Learn to Prevail!

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