As one grows older, various functions of the body become weaker and “not as sharp” as when we were older. The eyes grow weaker, necessitating “bifocals” or “reading glasses” so as to be able to see. Some food just does not taste as good as they once did. And the hearing begins to go.
I was diagnosed years ago with hearing loss in my left ear. The doctor, who happened to be a woman, suggested that my hearing lost began on the August 9, 1980 when I was married to LaRheasa. Women (and men) talk about “selective hearing;” that we hear only what we want to hear. But I was diagnosed with hearing loss and it was suggested that I get hearing aids. I was all for it until I found out that they would cost $5000.00, and because I did not have that kind of money, I have continued to be deaf to some noises. High pitched sounds, beeps on watches, and other noises are as if they are not – I can hear none of them.
It is embarrassing sometimes when I try to listen to someone and cannot understand what they are saying. It is worse in a crowd, and when I am trying to listen, I will turn my good ear to the person in an effort to hear. Often, when at the restaurant, I have to ask LaRheasa what the waiter/waitress said, because I simply cannot understand. When I am congested, it is worse. Many have been the times when I have embarrassed myself in front of family and friends trying to understand what was said, and repeating things I thought I heard, but was not even close to what was really said.
In Matthew 13:14-15 we read that as Jesus told parables the disciples asked him why he taught in parables. In the English Standard Version, the translation says, “. . . with their ears they can barely hear . . .” Why could they, and we barely hear?
One reason is because the background noise of the world is louder than the Word of God. We live in the world, and want to hear what it has to say so we can see if we are in step with what the world is saying. We will listen to gossip or tales, but often we have grown deaf to the truth. This is the problem with the world today – we listen to everything but the truth. Some even argue that we cannot know truth (despite John 8:32). So the background noises deafen us to the Word of God.
Another reason is that the loudest noises always seem to get the greatest attention. We listen to the sound of a siren, and we look in every direction until we find it. It is loud and obnoxious because it is designed to get our attention. One notices that commercials on television are often louder than the show, but according to recording engineers, it is not that it is louder, but the background noises are edited out. Think about why sins that would not have been named publicly years ago now have been accepted – those who engage in such are making the biggest noise. Could this be the reason why Jesus told his disciples, “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, PREACH ON THE HOUSETOPS.” (Matthew 10:27). Oh brethren, we must clamor for attention for the gospel as well. At the same time, Christians need to learn to get alone and listen to the Words of God without distractions that keep us from hearing.
Finally, whether or not we really want to admit it, we do have selective hearing. As a preacher I am not so naive to think that everyone hangs on my every word – but I do my very best to preach God’s words, not mine. And sometimes there are things that God says that we don’t like, agree with or appreciate. We certainly don’t want to be told we are sinners. So we “tune that out” and go on in our merry way in blissful ignorance, hoping that it won’t matter! But it will one day (Matthew 7:24-27).
How is your hearing?