JESUS SAID: Understand

“‘For the heart of this people has become dull, With their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes, Otherwise they would see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.’” Matthew 13:15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Is it easy to understand each other?

No. It isn’t. We get impatient, don’t we. We make assumptions. We create expectations without making ourselves clear by clearly communicating. We think we understand, but do we take the time to really understand with love and empathy.

How can we grow in understanding?

We need to be tender and thoughtful. We need to humble ourselves in order to make each other happy. We need to grow in self knowledge. We need to grow in our strengths and to build our character. We need to yield to the will of Jesus.

Matthew 13:15 says this:

“‘For the heart of this people has become dull, With their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes, Otherwise they would see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.’” Matthew 13:15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

What I hear from this scripture is that we need to understand with our heart. We need to hear with our ears and see with our eyes what Jesus sees and hears. We need to keep coming to Jesus so we can be healed of our own pain and pride so we can have the eyes, ears, and heart of Jesus.

Jesus is explaining that Isaiah predicted that the heart of people would become dull because they would close their eyes to God. We see that around us today, don’t we. It’s not only a description of our world “out there”, but also our world closer in. It may even be a description of ourselves.

My husband and I recently came across the book To Understand Each Other: Classic Wisdom on Marriage by Paul Tournier. I’m only half way through this short 63-page book because each sentence is dense, packed with timeless wisdom. What I want to share with you today is this idea of the “willing” of understanding.

“We must be reminded that the first condition for mutual understanding is the desire for, the seeking after, and the willing of the understanding. Such a statement may appear very commonplace. Nevertheless, this basic attitude toward understanding others is far rearer than we think. Listen to all the conversations of our world, those between nations as well as those between couples. They are for the most part dialogues of the deaf. Each one speaks primarily in order to set forth his own ideas, in order to justify himself, in order to enhance himself and to accuse others. Exceedingly few exchanges of viewpoints manifest a real desire to understand the other person” by Paul Tournier, from To Understand Each Other, 1967.

What does it take to “will” to understand? Yes, we need to listen. We need to empathize. We need to care. We need to love. We need to “will” to understand. “Willing” to understand is about caring to understand by exploring the reality of another person in order to acknowledge and respond to the real and felt needs of another.

When was the last time you really stopped to listen with love to that most important person in your life? 

Do you know what makes them mad? Do you know what makes them sad? Do you know what makes them glad? Do you know what causes them fear? Do you know where they hurt?

Make a fist, and put the thumb under the fingers. Look at your knuckles. Starting with the little knuckle, let’s name each knuckle MAD, SAD, GLAD, and FEAR. Now the thumb underneath is hurt, because hurt is usually hidden and is commonly a result of being mad.

Let me give you an example of what this could sound like. I’m going to demonstrate a conversation between a husband and wife:

  • I’m mad because when I want to talk to you, it appears you are too busy.
  • I’m sad because I feel abandoned when can’t share my heart with you.
  • I’m glad because I’m feeling listened to right now.
  • I fear that I’m not as important to you as I used to be.
  • I’m hurt because other things get your attention and not me.

I want to challenge you this week to seek a conversation with someone dear, and connect with them by listening to their most basic real emotions of mad, sad, glad, fear, and hurt.

I also encourage you to try this on yourself, and to listen to your own real emotions, in order to gain a better understanding of yourself.

You know, it is a lie to believe that it’s not ok to have these real emotions.  Jesus got mad when the people desecrated the temple. Jesus was sad when Lazareth died. Jesus was glad when people would trust and turn to God. Jesus feared for our hardened hearts. Jesus was hurt when the disciples slept while He was in Gethsemane. 

Today, listen to yourself. Listen to the people you meet. Do you have a real desire to understand? According to Mr. Tournier, “exceedingly few exchanges…manifest a real desire to understand the other person.”

Do something renegade today. Slow down to understand, not only to the people in our life, or even ourselves, but also slow down to understand what God is wanting you to hear, see, or know.

Today, have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that understands.  If you see that your heart is hardened, then take it all back to Jesus.  Return to Him and be healed.

“‘For the heart of this people has become dull, With their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes, Otherwise they would see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.’” Matthew 13:15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s