Do you hear what I hear?

How well do you listen?

How important is it that people listen to you?

We live in a world full of headphones, social media updates and the pursuit of the best use of time. A digital era where all information is at our fingertips. Communication is constant, insistent and without borders. But has this improved our ability to better relate with our neighbor? Many people have pondered the frightening idea that as we increase our interconnectedness, we are decreasing our empathy.

We are sacrificing the quality of our interactions for quantity.

For me, this boils down to the act of listening. A simple act that we don’t often think about. Yet, it is a forgotten tool to convey understanding, appreciation and affirmation to another person.

Throughout the Bible, the act of listening has led to obedience, discernment, understanding and even compassion. Conversely, some of the strongest examples of sin are when “they did not listen.” Jesus was keen on listening and his apostles carried on His example.

You can imagine how alarming it was to see this simple graph, published on a UN research site. If what it displays is true, we must do better at connecting our acts of compassion and charity, with acts of understanding and affirming the people we so strongly desire to assist.

I’m not convinced that this represents a social shift. There is a degree to which the facts represented in this graph might always be the truth. But for me, this is an important reminder of what we need to aspire to, what grace compels us towards – to be a community of listeners.

At FH, we aspire to walk with communities. Side by side. The worst thing we can do in our pursuit of developing solutions to issues of poverty within a community is to  demand that a community “listen to us” because “we have all the answers.” We have found that the best solutions, and those which endure the longest, are the ones that we arrive at together. Listening is the catalyzing ingredient to how FH impacts the lives of the most vulnerable.

One of the best ways for us to show compassion… to truly show love, support and value… is to listen.

Listen for the sake of learning.

Listen for the sake of giving.

Listen for the sake of compassion.

About David Curtis

David is passionate about two things: Walking with the poor, and the New England Patriots. His interest in understanding and advocating for the poor began while spending the summer in rural South Africa, where he worked alongside a fellow 19 year old at an orphanage. The juxtaposition of life as a privileged American, with that of a determined yet struggling friend and peer from the Global South, began the trajectory of a calling to walk with the poor. Since then he has spent time working in South Africa, Indonesia and Haiti. David graduated from Calvin College as a Social Studies Teacher, combining a passion to teach with that of learning. A potent combination that strives to bring "Mutual Transformation" to the world. Go Pats!

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