The biggest factor and barrier to good relationships is great and poor humility respectively. A poignant test of humility is how well a questioner listens once their question has been asked; you see, many people ask questions to seem interested, yet as their eyes wander off you know they are not. Seem familiar?
When the people we meet seem more interested in talking than listening there’s a communication imbalance occurring, and the predominant talker has dropped humility.
They are no longer thinking of the other as equal to themselves; they have forgotten, or will not apply, the golden rule—treat others as we, ourselves, would want to be treated.
Applying the Test to Ourselves
A test for humility would not be so if we didn’t turn it in on ourselves.
As we read the first three paragraphs, we could have been given to thinking of a time when someone wasn’t listening to us as effectively as we would have liked.
But humility is a personal issue.
When have we perhaps not listened as well as we could have?
Growth in humility is as easy as consistently putting other people in the same order as ourselves. In the realm of communication, as we’ve commenced this discussion, putting other people in the same order as ourselves is about having a willingness to listen when it’s our turn. It’s to seem and be interested in other people’s subject matter. This is no easy thing if we are not developed in humility—we will be distracted easily.
The truly humble can listen intently even in the most boring and unstimulating conversations, because it’s not the subject matter that motivates their listening, but their love for the person doing the talking. They are effectively deploying the golden rule.
The Blessings Incumbent On The Humble
As I’ve intimated above, we cannot truly apply this test over other people, because humility is a personal journey. This journey reveals to us, personally, the blessings of God and of others around us—everyone on the receiving end of humility is blessed; this remits joy over us as blessing others is a key purpose of life.
If we will genuinely want joy to characterise our lives we really want humility to season our personalities and the deployment of our communications.
If we will want to exemplify humility we will want to be interested listeners; people given to the art of listening, not so much for the subject matter, but for the person talking—they ought to be subjected to our love-displayed-interest.
Here is the clincher. Humility is easy when we are genuinely interested in the other person. Harder is the habit; humility developed. But the habit is fortified when it is consistently adopted. The product will be the blessings of joy. God will see to that.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.