A Democrat, a Republican, and Jesus Walk Into a Bar

A Democrat, a Republican, and Jesus walk into a bar.

The debate is on TV and it’s a fun crowd so they hang for a while over burgers and watch the opposing candidates duke it out. (Jesus nurses one glass of wine throughout if that helps you with this scenario.)

At the end, the Democrat and the Republican are both cheering and each confidently proclaims his/her candidate the winner. Jesus is smiling up at the television and they turn to Him as He says, “I really love that person.”

“Which one?” they ask Him.

“Exactly.” He answers, as He picks up the tab for the house and heads out to do some work more acceptable to the Baptists peeking in the from the street.

What you hear in the Presidential debates will depend a lot on you and what you’re listening for but this blog isn’t about politics. Because what you hear is dependent on how you listen in every area of life. This blog is about your soul and this one truth: what you hear all depends on your ears.

Our society places a great deal of pressure on the communicator.

I’m sure all presidential candidates have been drilled on their talking points for weeks. They’ve been coached on their phrasing, body language, eye contact, and hand gestures. They’ve been advised to appear natural, authentic, presidential, and on message. Ministers, youth leaders, missionaries, teachers, parents, writers, speakers, motivators, counselors, musicians, poets, filmmakers, and communicators of all kinds work harder than you can imagine to present their message in the optimal way for their audience. The stress can be overwhelming.

But Jesus, Master communicator, Story-teller extraordinaire, Speech-writer to the Stars (the actual stars) knew a secret He shared often:

the completion of the message all depends on the ears on which it lands.

In Luke 8:18a, Jesus warns us, “Therefore, consider carefully how you listen.” That is a warning worth meditating on every day for at least a week. Take it on as a challenge. Pay attention to how you listen for one whole day.

Ask yourself: are you listening to hear OR are you listening to criticize, judge, find fault, mock, scorn, reject, correct, be entertained, satisfy curiosity, argue, prove a point, conflict, endure until it’s your turn to speak, escape, feel superior, get it over with, avoid talking. Are you listening at all?

What we hear in any given situation really depends on the ears we bring to the moment. Jesus called out again and again, “Whoever has ears, let him hear.” In the gospels and then again in Revelation, He repeats this crucial exhortation. “Whoever has ears, let him hear.” Do you have ears that hear?

When you sit through a sermon, are you listening for what God is saying to you or are you reviewing the pastor’s style? When you sit across the table from your spouse, are you listening for the cry of his heart or are you waiting for your turn so you can point out where he’s wrong? When your coworker is yakking on about her issues with the church and Christians who judge, are you formulating an argument or are you trying to hear the pain and the ache of her soul? Are you listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit whispering to you what she really needs to hear when it’s your turn to speak?

Maybe you aren’t listening at all. Maybe you live in a world of earbuds, iPods, Bluetooth, and constantly yammering screens so there is barely a moment when your ears are not assaulted with the noise that rushes the airwaves like a tsunami.

Is it hard to believe that Satan is the prince of the air? His lies sail like arrows along the currents that connect his message of deception to the receivers in our minds through the channel that Jesus warned us is wide open and can be the key to successful message delivery – our ears.

Do you have ears that hear?

Spend tonight or tomorrow paying attention to how you listen and how you hear. Ask God to show you what messages are getting through that are deceptive and what truths are hitting a firewall when they try to penetrate your airways.

If you have ears that hear, you’ll know what Jesus was saying back at the bar when He was watching the candidates on the screen. Can you hear Him now, loved ones? Do you hear what I hear?

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    The Conversation

  1. Lori, Listening is so crucial to relationships. I was a horrible listener. A friend pointed out to me that I interrupt and finish other’s sentences. That was 20 years ago. I devoured as many articles, bible study and more to learn to be a better listener. Now I even teach it to ladies groups and businesses. It is work to listen well. I still mess up, interrupt, then apologize. I have listened through the filter of my own emotions and misunderstood the person speaking. Thank you for the reminder. Hopefully I am listening.

  2. Shawn Kuhn says:

    Love that Jesus bought a round for everyone. I am a raging conservative, but work hard on listening to my liberals friends, not to correct them, but really hear and learn. I also hang out on Atheist sites, to learn and seek forgiveness for my fellow Christians. Thank you.

  3. Rossetta Hanna says:

    I love the things you write. You have such an unusual and offbeat way of seeing the Truth and expressing the Truth to the rest of us. I dont usually comment, but I do want you to know that I read all of your posts and often share them on FB. May the Lord continue to use you. Keep the faith! Merry Christmas!