Our pre-conceived ideas lead to expectations; expectations lead to misunderstanding and disappointment.
4 A wicked person listens to deceitful lips;
a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.
This verse has a double meaning, a lot like a double-edged sword or the tongue. The most obvious meaning is that wicked people attract wicked people. The other meaning is about intention: If we expect to hear deceit, then we read into conversations innuendo; if we expect lies or destructive criticism, then we “hear” it whether it’s there or not. A lot of it depends upon our raising and our home life. Even more depends upon our temperament; some people really are wired to be more trusting than others. We must learn to acknowledge our filters of raising, culture, time in history, temperament, and our own expectations and hear what the other person is trying to say. They may not be very good at saying it, especially concerning tact. It may take some clarifying questions, but it’s worth the effort.
There’s a great verse in Romans 12 that sums up how we should enter every conversation:
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
If we will keep this verse in mind, we will go a long way in “hearing” our brothers and sisters.
Abba, You are devoted to us, so we want to be devoted to each other. It’s just hard to do because we are self-centered, like 3-year-olds. Help us to “grow up” and love each other like spiritual adults, honoring one another above ourselves. By Your Spirit, O Lord, we can! Amen.