The Prep

"Answering before listening is both stupid & rude." PR 18: 13 (The Message)

"He who gives an answer, before he hears, it is folly & shame to him." PR 18:13 (NASB)

DEBATE PREP 101: Listen before you speak.

Regardless of what version of the Bible you use, this message rings true. The recent debates between the candidates for POTUS & VPOTUS revealed a startling lack of understanding, of this maxim, on their part.

Proverbs provides great wisdom to any person making their case, in the court of public opinion, or taking part in daily conversation. It could be said to all of the candidates for these two high offices, or to any of us, "If you are listening, you may not be losing."

So, take stock of yourself. God made you with two ears and one tongue. Do the math. In His grand design, He placed a priority on listening. My first grade teacher, Miss Hamm, repeated to us every day, "If you are talking, you aren't learning." Wise words that a person never outgrows the need to apply on a daily basis. Thanks Miss Hamm. See, I was listening.

When candidates or anyone else, for that matter, become obsessed with the sound of their own voice, they are probably losing their audience and their argument. The ears of the citizens of this nation have grown weary of the unreliable promises of politicians. There is a great deal of truth in the popular assessment of politicians.
Q: "How can you tell when politicians are lying?"
A: "Their lips are moving."

God intends for His children to listen before they speak. Giving people a piece of your mind doesn't give the person receiving it much peace and it doesn't leave you with much mind.

Avoid attending any independent lecture series that begins with the statement, "I have half a mind to say something about that." People with half a mind are usually full of themselves. They are seldom right, but never in doubt.

In the last debate, a candidate was held accountable for a statement made about a national crisis. His response was, "Get the manuscript." The moderator did, and spoke her mind. When the dust settled, the moderator was wrong, the candidate's argument was weakened, and his opponent started preparation to use it against him in the next debate. There is a lesson here.

The Word of God is a manuscript that is meant to be read, understood, and applied, on a daily basis. Having it in your hand, by your bed, or on your shelf is not enough. It must not be ignored. It must be read, obeyed and applied. When we speak before we listen to what God has already said, in His Word, it reveals more about us than we want others to know. A person with half a mind is never full of the wisdom of God.

In this combative, confrontational culture there is always a huge temptation to speak before you listen. The worst thing a person can do is to speak for God, before they have listened to Him. Spend time in His Word, and ask Him to give you a firm grip on what it means. Listen before you speak.