"Shut up and listen to each other!"

My husband and I went to see Captain America: Civil War. The Marvel movies are not his favorite, but he did it because he knew I would like it. I am easily entertained by action and lots of handsome men in tight fitting suits. Ha, ha. I could write about my husband and the friendship we share, but I actually wanted to think about something that came up in the movie. 

The basic premise of the movie, revolves around differences of opinion. I will not go into details, in case you haven't seen the movie and want to. It prompted me to think about differences of opinion in our friendships. We have friends, in part, because we have something in common. My girlfriends and I love to read books, get together and discuss them. I have another friend that I love to shop with and another that I love to walk with. Rarely, do we discuss things that we don't agree on, because frankly our friendship stems from our commonalities. That doesn't mean you can't have friends that have different ways of looking at the world. However, sometimes those differences of opinion can lead to a falling out, as our Marvel heroes, discovered. Just because you are a super hero doesn't mean you have nothing to learn.

The same thing is true in our friendships. Just because I am a Christian, doesn't mean I can't learn from other people. Often, we feel that we can't have friends outside our faith, because then we won't be in agreement on many fundamental issues. But being of different mindsets, doesn't mean you can't listen.

One of the things I noticed in the movie was that these men and women who had been forced together (in previous movies) to fight all the enemies of the world, had indeed, become friends. They cared about each other. Unfortunately, most of them suffered from egos as big as a building and it made it difficult for them to listen. Sometimes, when you and a friend disagree on something, it is not because one of you is right and the other is wrong, it is because you really aren't listening to each other. There were moments where I wanted to shout at the movie screen saying, "Shut up and listen to each other!" But I am pretty sure they would have escorted me out of that busy theater if I had.

dog - stocksnap

Friends need to listen. Not just listen, but really hear. Listening is an art form. It is done with the whole body, mind and spirit. Listening involves giving. When you listen you are giving your time and your energy When you listen you focus on what the other person is saying. Sometimes, listening is painful, hard work. Especially if you are a fix-it kind of person. I can  see you sitting there on the edge of your seat, wanting to interject your thoughts, opinions and how-to-fix-it comments. But don't! Just listen. Listening changed things. It even changes people, not just the person you are listening to, but you. Listening can lead to more open doors and deeper conversations than you ever thought would happen.

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;
— James 1:19 (NASB)

Whether you are a super hero or not, it is always a good idea to slow down and listen to your friends.