Stop, Look, and Listen

We are addicted
     to thinking we’re great.
We even make up things
     we can celebrate.
I’m smoother, I’m faster,
     I’m better, you see.
At changing the channels
     on my new TV!
As soon as I say that,
     someone comes along.
They will do anything
     to prove I am wrong. 

I get in trouble
     when I respond back.
With words full of anger
     and compassion I lack.
I must be the best,
     I know that I’m right.
For you to say different
     is more than a slight.
I make up statistics,
     I misquote the “pros”.
I lay claim to knowledge
     that no one else knows. 

We live in a time
     when there’s no room for fact.
We look to the polls
     to see how we should act.
To become an expert
     is easy these days.
Just connect online
     and tell all your ways.
We write with such candor,
     insisting we’re right.
We become quite bold
     when we stay out of sight. 

I have opinions
     on all that I read.
But are my opinions
     what the world needs?
They need to see Jesus
     in all that I do.
Whether writing a poem
     or responding to you.
So when you are tempted
    to play the expert.
Stop, think, and pray
     before someone gets hurt. 

So, what will it take
     to turn things around?
To say things and write things
     with a heavenly sound?
Think for a moment
     just what you would do.
If the person you challenge
     was in front of you.
Stop, look, and listen
     is still good advice.
Whether crossing the tracks
     or trying to speak nice. 

Stop all your movement
    and wait for a while.
So you can respond
    and still have a smile.
Look all around,
     beginning with  you.
Seek understanding
     to carry you through.
Listen intently
     to what’s said and what’s not.
Listen to God’s voice,
     He says quite a lot! 

When I apply this
     within my own life.
I avoid foolish talk
     and a whole lot of strife.
Yes, there are times
     to speak what is right.
But not necessarily
     with everyone in sight.
I speak and I write
     with God as my guide.
And the prayer that it’s Jesus
     people do see inside. 

© 2015 by Tom Lemler

This poem isn’t at all what I expected to read when I began typing it out!  When it first started forming in my mind, I thought it was about celebrating this being my 100th poem.  Instead, it seemed to flow from  how we respond to the public celebrations and statements of others.  Far too often I see Christians responding online to news reports and personal posts with such animosity and arrogance that any truth of God’s Word that they would try to use gets lost in the fray.  I pray that this poem is a reminder to not only “Stop, Look, and Listen”, but to stop, think, and pray in the midst of all interactions with others.

In prayer,
Tom Lemler

4 thoughts on “Stop, Look, and Listen

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