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Listen Before Trying to Solve Anything – Rick Warren

“The one who gives an answer before he listens—this is foolishness and disgrace for him.”

Proverbs 18:13 (CSB)

One of the problems with humans is that we like to fix things. When we see a problem, we want to quickly jump to how we can solve it so we can move on. But God wants you to be a feeler before you’re a fixer. He wants you to feel someone’s pain before you try to solve the problem.


“The one who gives an answer before he listens—this is foolishness and disgrace for him” (Proverbs 18:13 CSB).

You may be barely into a conversation before you think, “I know how to fix this.” But that’s not loving. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. They want to feel heard. They want to feel loved. They want to feel understood.

There is healing in sharing. Your ear is a healing tool God can use if you’ll learn to listen without trying to fix anything.

When Jesus hears that his friend Lazarus is sick, he takes three days to travel what should have taken less than a day. By the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus is dead. His sisters are grieving and tell Jesus that, if he had come sooner, Lazarus would not have died.

Jesus’ delay might seem callous, but he has a plan: He doesn’t want to heal Lazarus. He wants to raise him from the dead to show he, Jesus, is the Son of God. He already knew the solution before Lazarus even got sick.

“Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved. ‘Where have you buried him?’ he asked them. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they answered. Jesus wept” (John 11:33-35 GNT).

Jesus is not unconcerned about their pain. When he sees everybody around him grieving, he mirrors it. He enters into it. Jesus knows the solution, but it doesn’t keep him from sharing their grief. He shares their feelings, not his solution.

You may know the solution, but you need to hold off. If you’re going to be a great listener, you’ve got to listen to someone’s feelings and enter into that person’s pain.

Talk It Over

How does sharing in someone’s grief help that person heal?
When might be the right time to share your thoughts on a solution with someone who is in pain or grieving?
What is one way you can practice patience in your life?

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