Four To One

by The Salvation Army
Categories: Devotional

Have you ever wondered why God created us with two ears and two eyes but only one mouth? Do you think it could be that we should spend four times as much listening and observing as talking?

When I told a member of the nursing staff where I live that I was considering doing a devotional on this topic, she immediately responded, “I really want that reminder. It seems that often I am talking and the other person has stopped listening.”

I found her response very interesting, since she is considered very emphatic and skilled at soliciting meaningful responses to her questions. Perhaps that is because she is sensitive to the fact that it is more important to spend time in the four neglected avenues of communication rather than the one that we easily utilize.

It seems to be human nature for us to assume that what we know is best. But what we say is only of value if it is helpful to, and understood by, the person to whom we are speaking.

Ephesians 4:29 – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

It is challenging to balance the words that we speak, but Proverbs is full of great admonitions:

Proverbs 12:18 – Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (NIV)

Proverbs 15:4 – The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. (NIV)

Proverbs 6:16-19 – There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (NIV)

One additional thought on positive communication: Even before words are spoken, a baby communicates with a smile. Virtually without exception, we respond positively to a smile.

It is said that it takes 17 to 26 muscles to smile but 43 to 62 to frown. God has designed us to communicate more easily with a smile than a frown!

Prayer: God, help us to use our two ears and two eyes to listen and observe, and to use our single tongue wisely. May we also spend more time smiling and less time frowning. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Vincent Walter
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  – Copyright 2018-2020 by Vince Walter and reprinted with his permission. This devotional first appeared on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional website,