1 King 3 v 9
So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
Another word for ‘understanding heart’ is ‘hearing heart’.
Having a hearing heart is genuinely desiring to understand the heart of what God is saying and what other people are saying. Being interested in what others have to say, getting to the heart of what they mean and feel underneath the words is a gift of Wisdom. It is a far cry away from self interested communication. It takes a sacrificial heart. It is a heart which prefers the other.
Love is not selfish 1 Corinthians 13
So often we play a ‘Snap’ version of interacting and communication which goes something like this. Amy shares something about a trip to France she made. John shares about his holiday to Spain. Tom shares his exam results. Lisa shares what she got in her most recent grades. There is an identification communication of shared experiences. You lay your card, I’ll lay mine and we can shout an inward ‘Snap’ when something matches. Then it becomes a volley. You give me something and I’ll find something similar and send it back. The more we find we can ‘Snap’ the more we feel connected to the other person. Sometimes the communication becomes, ‘And I’ll raise you ten’… Someone shares something and we ‘Snap’ it but then add a bit of oneupmanship… We aim to make ourselves feel good at the other’s expense. We are asking ourselves, subconsciously what can I get out of this?
With God we often go with a shopping list, here’s what You need to do God and here’s what I want or my family needs, tick, tick, tick. Or there’s the vending machine communication; We put our worship, our righteous deeds and tithe into the slot and then sit back and wait for God to do His part - taking umbrage when things don’t work out the way we thought they would. We bang and kick the machine demanding the return for what we’ve put in.
Is being right and understood our main driving force for communication? It is the premise from where most of us learn to communicate with others. These forms of communication are rooted in what we get out of it but there is a higher way.
Developing a heart which is concerned with genuine connectedness; a deep desire to understand the heart of another is beyond riches. It pleases God. In fact it pleased Him so much that when Solomon asked for it, he gave Him riches and wealth as well.
Riches and honour are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. Proverbs 8 v 18
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate (inquire) in His temple.
He created us to delight and be curious about Him. Let us inquire of the Lord. There is nothing more beautiful than to discover more about our Saviour and it will take an eternity to know Him.
John 17 v 3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
We are created to discover and delight in others. However, just as in the natural world, if our basic needs of shelter, food and safety aren't met then our time is devoted to meeting those needs and so it is with the heart. If our basic needs of affirmation, value and love aren't met we will devote our time to meeting those needs. It's difficult to have a hearing heart when ours has never been listened to. We need to take time to listen to our own heart, to hear the storyline which is our song He sung over us at creation. The good news is though that there is nothing hidden from Him. He is intimately acquainted with all our ways. We are deeply known by Him and He loves us.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinise my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all. Psalm 139
From this basis, of being known and unconditionally loved, we can relax into knowing and unconditionally loving Him and others, to rejoice in our songs as our lives harmonise together.