There is nothing quite as annoying as sharing a life-experience story; you are verbally setting up the ending, the punch line, the grand finale, hopeful to relish in the reaction from the group, only to have a zealous over-talker jump in before you even finish your thought!
Has this ever happened to you? How did that make you feel? If you are like me, it totally turned you off; it invalidated your spoken engagement with the group. Your story just got cut off and you had the same feeling you get when you are in traffic, and some rude driver cuts you off.
I have to admit, I used to be one of those rude conversation usurpers! To be honest, I still need to guard my tongue, or I easily revert to those verbal assault tactics.
God had to do a great deal of work in me in order for me to see this glaring fault in myself; others saw it, but were kind enough to put up with it, allowing me to interrupt, cutting front of other oral traffic.
I have often pondered why I felt the need to “jump in” to a conversation before letting the person finish. God revealed the answer; I was full of myself and wanted to be important, I was self-absorbed! Ouch!
Once God began to reveal to me how disrupting this was, I found that my listening skills began to improve, and I began to notice how often this “verbal road rage” was taking place.
To illustrate this phenomenon, consider a small group of men chatting about their hunting exploits. Invariably, one man will begin sharing his best hunting story, the other men are already thinking of their own legend, one that will outdo the current narrative.
Just like the driver who is rushing home after work is looking for that minuscule opening to dart in front, so does the verbal jouster look for his opening, a breath, a pause in a sentence; then wham, they jump in and full throttle ahead!
When this takes place, it reveals the selfishness of that person and the inherent need of an ego boost. It is rare that someone actually learns how to listen more than talk.
The one, who can master their tongue, will gain the confidence and respect they never could have, by jumping in, and jumping on, other conversations.
The Bible says . . . “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak …” (James 1:19)
Now those are words to live by. Someone once said; “God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we ought to listen twice as much as we talk.”
Are you listening?