I was talking to a young man recently, maybe 27 or 28 years old. He had multiple piercings and quite a few visible tattoos that did not represent positive themes. His cloths were a bit too large, which I did not perceive to be a fashion statement. Further, he was in need of deodorant. I went up to him and asked him about his life story and what his dream is. This young man took off with a plethora of words about a successful music career in Hollywood, CA with many “rock stars,” one of them being him. He, further into the conversation, said he lived in Nashville, TN where he was a “country music sensation” dropping some well-known names. At another time in the conversation, he told me he spent two and a half years incarcerated in Florida, on “false charges” of course.
As I was listening, I found myself thinking about what might be truth and what might not be. I was wondering about his reality. I was captivated by his incessant desire to be someone of worth and value, someone famous. When we are attentive in our listening, we are making a statement that the one speaking is important. It could have been easy to be distracted or simply want to move away from this person, but Jesus would have listened intently. Jesus would have cared about his personal story even if it were fabricated. Jesus would have given him every minute he needed without judgment. And then He would have posed a pointed question like, “Do you know how much I love you with or without worldly success?” Or, He might have said, “The kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy.” How can I be more like Jesus today and who needs my listening ear without my judgement?