Psalm 14:1: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”

Why would anybody start out a prayer to God commenting on foolishness? One of King David’s prayers does. My guess is, David wrote this remark because he was called a fool. Prayer is a great way of working through insult. Nobody likes to be called a fool, but everybody feels like one sometimes.

Those of us who feel like a fool, most likely aren’t. Fools don’t know or don’t want to know that they are fools. A hallmark of foolishness is poor self-assessment skills. Another one is poor listening skills.

Here is a great way to grow wiser by the day: Grooming our listening skills! God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason – we should listen twice before speaking up – but sometimes we talk for two without pausing to lend an ear.

My husband and I are currently in the middle of a recording project. Part of it involves designing background vocals of the song we are recording. There is no way we could come up with any decent harmony without listening to the lead vocal. And once the first harmony track is laid down, the second harmony has to listen to both lead vocal and first harmony to be able to mesh. Harmony is based on listening first before contributing another vocal layer. A multilayered rich harmony is the ultimate result.

What is true for the sound of music is true for human interactions. Listening before talking is paramount. Without listening we’re not having a conversation, we’re having a talking match, and the person who has the last word, wins – not really! When everybody talks and nobody listens, everybody loses because nobody gains anything. One of the most exciting things about companionship is that we can learn from each other.

We have self-admirers who are self-inspired talking about themselves all day long. Narcissistic tendencies are a one-way street leading to full time foolishness. Make no mistake about it: Somebody calling you a fool maybe the person who is giving you a wake-up call. But then again, depending on who’s not listening – it may be the very person calling you a fool who is.

Listening to God’s Spirit we learn and grow in wisdom every day. This won’t prevent us from being called a fool every now and then. But we will have the humility and wherewithal to discern who the fool is.

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