Why Is Everyone Yelling And Not Listening?

Text: James 1:16-21

In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

Everyone seems to be yelling these days, and nobody seems to be listening.  And the more people do not listen, well… the louder it gets.

And so, it seems that our culture is very loud right now and possibly getting louder and louder.  

Now, to fight back against all of the loud yelling, people are doing two different things.  On the one hand, they are finding ways to be louder than everyone else around them.  Through social media, protests, and even violence, people are upping the volume – trying to shout over top those they oppose. The strategy is quite simple; the loudest person wins. On the other hand, though, there is an effort to cancel and silence people that one does not agree with. Simply stated, if you don’t like what someone else is saying and they are saying it louder than you?  Well, then take away their voice – cancel them.  Burn their books, de-platform them on social media, slander them in public, and shame them into the shadows.  The strategy is quite simple; intimidate them into silence so that your voice is the only one that remains.    

As already stated, our culture is very loud right now.  Everyone seems to be yelling right now, and nobody seems to be listening.  

Perhaps you might think that the church needs to increase its volume in culture too.  Perhaps you might believe that the goal of coming to the church is to equip parishioners to be loud in culture!  These church services could be pep rallies where you are amped up and encouraged to go out into the world to make a lot of noise!  

But dear Christian, you do not lead with your mouths and follow-up with your ears.  But instead, you lead with your ears and follow-up with your mouths, for this is what we hear in our reading in the Epistle of James.  

James tells you and me that we are to be quick to listen and slow to speak.  We hear the same kind of sentiments in the Old Testament book of Proverbs as well.  To paraphrase Proverbs, 

“When useless talk increases, truth typically decreases.” 


“The more one knows, the less one talks.  However, the less one knows, the more one talks.” 

You see, dear friends, it is very easy to spot a fool.  They are the ones that are always talking, asserting, lecturing, and pontificating – and they do all this talking not to bless and help others but to puff themselves up.  They spend more time talking than listening to get their way.  

But you do not need to lead with your mouth and useless chatter.  You see, you are a Christian which means that you are a part of the church.  And, as you know, the church is the bride of Christ.  And, as the bride of Christ, the church listens.  The church receives. Yes, the church receives all good gifts from Christ.  And regarding truth?  We receive truth from Christ as well when we listen to His Word.  

In our Gospel reading, Jesus tells us about this.  He says that the Holy Spirit will guide you and me into all truth.  And He does this through the preaching of the Word.  This is why we gather every week into this sanctuary.

You don’t come here to hear from a pompous pastor bloviating about his own personal opinions. No, you come to church to listen to the Word of Christ spoken by one of Christ’s servants – the pastor.  You come to listen and receive – to hear truth.  

And that is what is so different with you as Christians.  Instead of fighting to be the loudest one yelling in culture, your goal is to fight to listen – to listen to the truth of Christ.  Why yell and scream for truth, when you can stop, pause, and listen to truth?  

Let’s be honest right now.  So many people are screaming at the same time right now because they are fighting to have their version of so-called truth. Like a bunch of children, they are fighting for their so-called truth to be the end-all-be-all for society.  Awe, but that is where the fundamental problem lies.  Something is not true just because you say it or get others to believe it.  Something is not truer if you say it louder.  Something is not truer if you get more people to believe it.  

Frankly stated, I believe that one reason why so many are so incredibly loud in our culture right now is that they are insecure and are fighting desperately to believe their own version of truth.  You see, when you have truth, you have security.  When you have truth, you don’t need to loudly convince yourself that you are right.  When you have the truth, you don’t have to worry about what other people think or say. When you have truth you don’t have to cancel others or shout others down, because you know that their foolish ideologies will eventually wither away.  When you have truth, you listen to it, over and over again.  

Think of it this way.  As a Christian, you are not the way, the truth, or the life.  Jesus is. And so, when truth is attacked, we know that people are attacking Christ and His Word, not us.  And since Christ has already endured the world’s scorn and is now raised from the dead, we are neither easily triggered nor defensive when challenged.   

The world, though?  The world has located their perception of truth within their own ideas and opinions.  They have become a compass unto themselves, which is why the world will always lead with the mouth and not the ear.  This is the reason why the world will always yell, scream, and cancel.  If you don’t possess truth, you are always insecure and unsettled. 

But you, dear Baptized Saints [and especially you Confirmation Students], are not of the world.  You have been baptized into the truth.  You have had truth poured into your ears.  You have truth because you have Jesus.  Jesus is truth.  

And so, while the rest of the world screams, fights, cancels, and scurries around like frantic gerbils… you, yes you, you listen.  As a Christian, you do not depend on your mouth but your ears to listen to Christ’s Word.  

And as you listen, you hear what sin is and what is not – the ways in which you get ensnared in the seductions of darkness.  

You also listen to Christ’s Word to hear how Christ has obtained forgiveness – for you. In other words,  when your conscience is plagued, when you feel shame, and when guilt has you weighed down, you need not try and speak your way out of your struggles but listen your way out.  As a Christian your mouth is not meant to justify yourself out of your sins, but your ears are meant to hear the Good News that Jesus is your righteousness – that you are forgiven in Him.  Your ears are meant to hear that the devil is a defeated foe.  You ears are meant to hear that an empty tomb has dulled the sting of death.  You ears hearing from Christ lead you to soothed conscience and assurance.  

So, dear Baptized Saints [and today’s confirmands], do not get thrown off course.  Listen first and often to Christ’s Word.  Do not give into useless virtue signaling talk and cancerous yelling.  Listen and receive today, tomorrow, next month, next year, and to your last breath.  Do not let the Word of Christ go in one ear and out the other. Listen; have assurance and peace in spite of a loud, cancelling and yelling world.  

In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

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