To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame Proverbs 18:13
One of the instructions I give to clients in couples counseling is part of my “Fair Fighting Rules”. It goes like this… Try to put yourself in the shoes of the other person and understand how they are seeing it. That does not mean that they are “right”, or even that you need to agree with it; just be willing to try to see the world the way that they see it.
I further explain to my clients that good attorneys can understand the argument of their opponent so well, that they can argue his/her case. This, of course, is in preparation for their own case, the one they argue on behalf of their client.
My point is, we need to be able to listen to and understand the viewpoints of those with whom we disagree. This may take a great deal of patience and discipline, but it is valuable in order to be able to see the world from another’s viewpoint.
We can, and do, become very convinced of our positions on certain things- politics, religion, and a cultural understanding of our world. We all have opinions, and that is good. It means that we are thinking and actually care about the world we live in.
However, when we are trying to connect with others, and have meaningful and thoughtful conversations, we would do well to try to put ourselves, as best we can, into their shoes to see the world from that angle too before we judge it.
Prayer: Lord, give us the patience to hear matters fully before we answer, Amen