June 3, 2020
The Power of Listening
“…everyone must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” James 1:19
Michigan sheriff, Chris Swanson, and other Genesee County police officers, instead of confronting protesters, put their batons down and joined their march, showing their solidarity in the protest againstkilling of George Floyd. Flint, the county seat of Genesee County, was in the news several years ago when lead contamination was discovered in the city’s drinking water after it changed its water source from the Detroit River to the Flint River. In addition, Flint has the highest poverty rate of any American city, so the area is already stressed and stretched in ways that constantly test law enforcement.
But the sheriff remarked that walking into a potentially volatile crowd was one of the least tactical things he could do, but noticed they simply wanted someone to listen to them. He said that the crowd eventually chanted “walk with us” and the officers joined them. He added that the people looting and destroying property do not represent the peaceful protesters with whom he walked.
Another example of the power of listening. As Americans we’re all in this together. And the first step each of us can take to help heal our nation is to listen to one another. James in the New Testament urges us: ….”be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”
Sheriff Swanson said at a news conference: “I believed we saved lives last night….We became the beacon of light…..”
The power of listening.
Prayer: Gracious God, help us to listen more and speak less. May we take the time to hear others’ opinions and perspectives so we can move forward together as a nation. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.