The great composer Beethoven began to lose his hearing when he was only 30, and by the last decade of his life he was totally deaf. He never heard his own majestic Ninth Symphony. Can you imagine how devastating it must have been for a musician and composer not to be able to hear what his music sounded like?
It may surprise you to hear me recommend occasional deafness. I don’t mean doing any physical damage to God’s masterful inventions on either side of your head. I mean choosing not to hear certain things in your life, and if you did hear them, to act as if you hadn’t. “Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you” (Ecclesiastes 7:21).
Bosses should let some muttered comments fly by and take no notice. Teachers should not feel that they have to scold every sinful student word. Nor should husbands and wives think that they have to fix, correct, or argue with everything that comes out of their spouse’s mouth. People say things when they are tired, peevish, or argumentative that they probably don’t mean. If you choose not to “hear” those words, they won’t be trapped in the official record of your communications. You can keep arguments from starting, let a foolish temper cool down, and maybe even save a relationship.
Your employees, students, or spouse may think you are losing your hearing (or possibly your mental sharpness). Just smile.
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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