Listen for the Other – 5 Favorites of 2016


Regardless of who you voted for in November for President, the victory of Donald Trump took most of us by surprise. Many now suggest it’s because we weren’t listening well enough. Underlying anxieties were going unheard.

We are a divided nation in more ways than we realized.

When wounds go undetected and untreated, healing is much harder.

I can’t vouch for the nation’s ears, but I know I personally don’t listen as well as I could.

The first step toward health seems obvious enough, although not easy:

Listen more.

Open our ears to hear. Then other steps will fall into place.

  • Open our hearts to feel.
  • Open our minds to change.
  • Open our hands to love.

When we realize we really don’t know it all, we can learn more. When we understand each other better, we can love more. And when we give attention to the brokenness in others, we can all become more whole.

Looking back through stories I experienced in 2016, here are my favorite five posts about listening for the other. It’s a lesson I need to hear—and more importantly, practice—over and over.

1. God Sends No One Alone

The kindergarteners were enjoying their parents’ attention. Except for this little boy.

He was crying because “My mama didn’t come.”

God Sends No One Alone

2. Do You Believe What They’re Saying? Blacks and Whites in America

What do the statistics tell us? That white Christians need to be listening much closer to their black brothers and sisters. And believing what they say.

Let’s do better at hearing each others’ stories and believing what we hear.

Do you believe what they’re saying? Blacks and whites in America

3. Who will be your divine encounter?

Whether it’s one encounter in a lifetime or three times in one day, God places the right people in our paths for his purposes.

When God wants our paths to cross, he can make it happen.

Who will be your divine encounter?

4. Were They Really the “Good Old Days”? Depends on Who You Ask

When we talk about the “good old days,” how accurate are we? Maybe it depends on who you were in those days.

Not everyone agrees that America used to be a more moral country; book quotes from Between the World and Me.

Were They Really the “Good Old Days”? Depends on Who You Ask

5. No Pride in Giving, No Shame in Taking

The line Saturday morning was long and talkative. When we have, we give. And when we need, we receive.

There should be no pride or shame on either end.

No Pride in Giving, No Shame in Taking

And a few more posts that made me rethink some things during the year.

But the thing about helping others is we don’t always get to match our skills with their needs. Our perfectionism can become their roadblock.

Benefits from doing something imperfectly (including face painting) instead of saying no.

Will I ever see these kids again? I want to have hope that their lives will turn out good. But will they?

I want these Kindergarten students to make it; will I keep praying they will?

If we do all the “right” things, is it guaranteed we’ll raise godly children?

Pray for help to be a godly parent.

Who in your life needs to be shown some dignity today? No one deserves to be humiliated. How we treat others reveals who we are ourselves.

Book quotes from Writing My Wrongs.

We rarely know where we will die. Joy thought she would die in the tornado Thursday night as it ripped through her neighborhood.

Welcoming gratitude in a crisis is a choice.

* * *

What voice did you hear in a fresh way this year? Did you have to learn some new things, too? Please share in the comments.

18 thoughts on “Listen for the Other – 5 Favorites of 2016

  1. Beth

    How sad for that sweet little boy who only wanted his mom to be there! But yes, yes, yes! To how we are never alone, Lisa! I hope someone whispered that into his ear. And I also agree that as a white believer, I realize how very much I must lead the way in listening and showing compassion to the black communities all around me. I live just across the river from Ferguson, Lisa, where a lot of racial unrest erupted. The field is white! Thanks for this reminder and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know; my heart broke for the sweet little fellow whose mom didn’t show. 🙁 He is at a different school this year for 1st grade so we’ve lost all contact with him. I pray that he is being taken care of.

      I didn’t realize you were so close to Ferguson, Beth. This tension really hits close to home for you then. Although it needs to be uncovered everywhere so we can work through it. Merry Christmas to you too!

  2. Valerie Sisco

    Hi Lisa,
    (Thanks for visiting my travel post since it wasn’t my usual — so grateful!) I love what you write about being open — open to others and open for God to work in us!

    When we open our hearts to listen to the views of others (even those we disagree with) we are opening ourselves to show the love of God to those we encounter and so often this changes our perspective on us, on others and even on the world. Your thoughts are always so compelling and urge us to love more, I’m always inspired by you! Merry Christmas! xoxo

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree, Valerie. Our perspectives can change from every angle when we take the time to really try to understand other people, even when those other people are similar to us! Merry Christmas to you, too!

  3. Michele Morin

    So many of these posts I remember reading the first time through, and relived that “A Ha” moment once again.

    Looking forward to another new year of sharing words together in this blogging life!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m looking forward to what the new year will bring also, Michele! One thing I know: you’ll be reading lots of good books. I love to hear about the treasures you find.

  4. floyd

    You know my favorite one was the first one on your list. My heart broke then and it does now.

    As Christians, of all people, we should be the best listeners in the world. That was the example of Jesus Christ. He listened and had compassion.

    I’m not great at it, but with each year I’m getting a little better.

    Thinking we’re right should never be the starting point when it come to listening.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’ve hit the nail on the head, Floyd (as usual): “Thinking we’re right should never be the starting point when it comes to listening.” It’s hard for us to let go of the “I’m right, you’re wrong” mentality. But unless we leave our heart’s door cracked open, we’ll rarely understand where others are coming from.

      Praying you have a wonderful Christmas with your family!

  5. ~ linda

    Oh Lisa, you have shared some deep and potent truths here. Oh, that we would all humble ourselves, listen with both ears, stop for the one on the Jericho Road, and love our neighbor, no matter their skin color, their beliefs, their anything, and be the Christians we truly are. So much…so much!
    May your Christmas be filled with the Joy of the Lord, my friend. I love you, ~ linda

  6. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    I always think of my mother who said, “God gave you two ears and one mouth…use them proportionately.” May I seek to listen more in 2017…I mean really listen. I also really desire more divine encounters with God. I really want to be on fire for Him this year and that means really communing with Him. Thanks for a great post to start off the new season.

  7. Barbie

    Thank you for sharing this treasury of posts. I will need to come back as most are new to me. And yes, I must learn to listen more. Praying that God would give me ears to hear Him more in the coming year! Blessings!

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