Listening to Someone Else’s Story
As people experience us learning their names and caring about what they care about, they will begin to be willing to share their stories. The Scriptures today highlight two moments where Jesus shows us how to step into these stories and listen well.
Jesus was all about making it personal with people: healthy, sick, rich, or poor. In the first account today, John tells us about a place where disabled people would hang out. So, that’s where Jesus went too. Once there, He met a crippled man, asked him a question, then listened.
Intentional questions are really valuable—they offer the mic to the other person, giving them an opportunity to open up. If you want to be confident in connecting with others, learn how to ask good questions and actively listen. Jesus’ question helped the man open up and share his weakness and pain, which allowed Jesus to listen and respond with love by healing the man.
When Jesus arrives on the second scene, Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus, has just died. Lazarus was Jesus’ close friend. How could He let this happen? They’d seen Him heal so many others before … why not their brother? Martha and Mary share this confusion and grief with Jesus. Listening to and comforting these women deeply moves Jesus and hurts His heart. In fact, He weeps with the sisters over their brother’s death … even though He knows He’s about to raise Lazarus back to life! This is huge. Just because it’s about to be better does not mean we can pass up the opportunity to sit in someone’s pain with them. Jesus did not have to take the time to listen to Mary and Martha. He could have told them to take a chill pill, marched right over to the tomb and presented Lazarus as more alive than ever. But He didn’t. He chose to make it personal, which involved sitting with, listening to, and responding in love to two brokenhearted sisters.
Challenge: Listening to someone’s story doesn’t always involve a lot of pain, but it might. Be willing to celebrate with others and be willing to cry with them. As an action step today, move toward someone with an intentional question, then actively listen to their answer. Lean in with love.