How do we sound?
I remember days of hearing discord in our house when I’d walk into a room and tell a kid, “Listen to yourself! Do you know how you sound?!”
Another day, I came home from work talking about someone I’d been in close contact with all day. My teenage son told me he was tired of having to listen to me spout off about this person – and perhaps I should think about how I sound. Ouch, ouch, ouch.
I’ve thought about that instance often in the past year – because I keep noticing how people sound. I wish they knew how they sound to the folks around them.
It’s sure easy to be the one reprimanding the guilty party. It’s not so easy to see – or hear it – in ourselves. In the past year, I’ve come to realize how much I am like people who’ve traveled before me, and how often history repeats itself.
Our human tendency
The children of Israel, had everything going for them. God promised blessing and honor, safety, protection, food and plenty, even crops they had not planted and fruit ready for harvest without the investment in labor. Over and over, they promised to follow God, to obey His commands. Over and over, they failed. They complained, worried, fought among themselves, and went after other gods. I wonder if God ever told them, “You ought to listen to how you sound!”? We think to ourselves, how ridiculous – but fail to see our tendency to do what they did.
Anne Frank, her family, and other Jews were hiding together in secret in Amsterdam. They fought over food, use of the bathroom, and giving up bedroom space. One would think, since others were risking their lives to provide shelter, protection, and food, they would be grateful. Oh no, they found fault with each other, grew weary of each other, complained and carried on like any of the rest of us would.
In 2020, we’ve endured COVID, which pales in comparison to slavery in Egypt and hiding from Hitler. We’ve disagreed and scorned those whose views are different from ours. We have spoken disrespectfully of those in authority, ridiculed mandates and refused to follow them or been angry at others who don’t do as we think they should. Do we listen to how we sound?!
The memes or comments we have shared on social media or in face-to-face confrontations are not with an intent to help bring peace and harmony to our families, neighbors, or the world. We’ve cracked jokes and considered ourselves sensible while we’ve deemed others stupidly ignorant or ridiculously afraid. No matter which side of the fence we’re on, we’ve been guilty of blaspheming the name of Christ by our actions, attitudes, and words.
The reason behind our sound
We should listen to how we sound when we talk. This is because Titus tells us,
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
We’ve been guilty of not guarding our hearts. Scripture tells us that we must guard our hearts because everything we do flows from it.
In addition, the condition of our heart is evidenced in our life. This involves how we act, how we talk, where we go, and what we do. Proverbs says that just as water reflects a man’s face, so one’s life reflects the heart.
None of us has all the answers or every fact completely correct. Perhaps it’s time to listen more and talk less. Maybe we ought to listen more to how we sound. There’s enough commotion and din out there without adding to the fray.
For starters, how about we lean into quietness and confidence? God said these words to Israel, and they are just as pertinent to us today:
“For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
Guaranteed, it will change the way we sound.
Photo credits: Pixabay.com