What Can I Do? – Part I: Listen

John Ed Mathison speaking about how important it is to listen at a press conference with many pastors.


America can never be the same following the fight against COVID-19 and the expressions of racism and protests. Injustice against anybody at any level must be eliminated! Arriving at that victory is possible – but it must be approached with integrity, love, forgiveness, and respect for others. I don’t have all of the answers, but I do have some things that I’m going to practice myself.

On Tuesday, June 2, 2020, a couple of us pastors responded to requests for a press conference. We had 6 pastors – 3 white and 3 black. Several other pastors came downtown at the last minute. We spoke about how we could work together to make the City of Montgomery what God envisions. We have tremendous resources in the leadership of our mayor, police chief, sheriff, politicians, pastors, and good laypeople.

That press conference was placed on the social media pages of WSFA Channel 12 and CBS Channel 8. On those two Facebook pages alone, the press conference has been viewed by over 96,000 people! And that’s not counting the radio stations, individual videos, etc. Montgomery has a lot of problems, but we want to make progress so that every citizen in Montgomery can receive and enjoy the privileges that we have.

My comments at the press conference centered around how we need to listen, learn, and love. I’m trying to practice those things now. I reflected on them and feel even more convinced that for me, and maybe for others, these are some things I can do. I’ve expanded my thinking in the last few days. Let me share where I am today:


A little boy was tired of a long sermon. He asked his dad what else the preacher did besides preach. His dad listed several things and then said he had to rest up because preaching isn’t easy. The little boy quickly said, “Well, listening ain’t easy either!” He’s right. Listening ain’t easy!

When I speak, I only repeat things that I already know. When I listen, I learn things I did not know. I’ve got two ears and only one mouth – I need to listen twice as much as I speak. A high school teacher asked the class to define the difference between listening and hearing. At first, there was no response. Finally, a hand went up, and a student offered this wise definition: “Listening is wanting to hear.”

We must first listen to God. God has spoken very clearly about all relationships. Moses said, “Israel, be quiet and listen.” (Deuteronomy 27:9) God said, “For all who listen to Me will live in peace.” (Proverbs 1:33) God has all the answers for us if we are willing to listen to Him.

We need to listen to each other. I’ve been sitting down with some persons of other races and just listening. Many of us don’t act correctly because we haven’t listened.

I’ve listened to some of my black friends who are pastors and laypeople. I’ve listened to what they’ve experienced. I have tried to see life through their eyes. I’m learning a lot!

I believe that violence and destruction have been avoided in Montgomery because our mayor, police, pastors, politicians, and good people have been willing to listen. Be quick to listen! (James 1:19)

What can I do? – LISTEN

Look for Part II next week!

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