Eyes & Ears
The banter of the operating room may have to be toned down, if new research on unconscious awareness in patients under total anesthesia is borne out. Surgeons have taken their patients' oblivion as license for talking as though the patient were not there--even making remarks that patients would find frightening if they heard. But two research groups report that what anesthetized patients hear can affect them. "What the patient hears--say a remark like, 'He's a goner' --could conceivably have an adverse effect on his recovery," says Henry Bennett, one of the researchers.
In one study, anesthetized patients heard a taped voice tell them during surgery they should signify having heard the message by touching their ears in a postoperative interview. Later, in the interview, the patients tugged at their ears, although none could recall having heard the message, nor were they particularly aware of touching their ears. Dr. Bennett, a psychologist now at the Univ. of California Medical school at Davis, reports that when patients were given the suggestion during surgery that one hand was becoming warmer and the other cooler, the hands' temperature did so. This suggests, says Bennett, inadvertent negative remarks--such as, "Holy Moses, this is a terrible bone graft" --could interfere with recovery. Under anesthesia, "Patients may be more vulnerable to upsetting remarks they might hear," Bennett says. "Their normal coping techniques aren't available, since they are drugged."
Other research involving patients undergoing back surgery suggests possible beneficial applications. Because a common postoperative complication of back surgery is difficulty is urinating, most patients require a catheter. During surgery, the researchers suggested to the anesthetized patients that they would be able to relax their pelvic muscles afterward, and so need no catheter. None of the patients who received the suggestion subsequently needed a catheter. ── Spokesman Review, February 13, 1984.
In his brilliant new book, Catching the Light, quantum physicist Arthur Zojanc writes of what he describes as the "entwined history of light and mind" (correctly described by one admirer as the "two ultimate metaphors of the human spirit"). For our purposes, his initial chapter is most helpful.
From both the animal and human studies, we know there are critical developmental "windows" in the first years of life. Sensory and motor skills are formed, and if this early opportunity is lost, trying to play catch up is hugely frustrating and mostly unsuccessful.
Prof. Zajoc writes of studies which investigated recovery from congenital blindness. Thanks to cornea transplants, people who had been blind from birth would suddenly have functional use of their eyes. Nevertheless, success was rare. Referring to one young boy, "the world does not appear to the patient as filled with the gifts of intelligible light, color, and shape upon awakening from surgery," Zajoc observes. Light and eyes were not enough to grant the patient sight. "The light of day beckoned, but no light of mind replied within the boy's anxious, open eyes."
Zajoc quotes from a study by a Dr. Moreau who observed that while surgery gave the patient the "power to see," "the employment of this power, which as a whole constitutes the act of seeing, still has to be acquired from the beginning." Dr. Moreau concludes, "To give back sight to a congenitally blind person is more the work of an educator than of a surgeon." To which Zajoc adds, "The sober truth remains that vision requires far more than a functioning physical organ. Without an inner light, without a formative visual imagination, we are blind," he explains. That "inner light" -- the light of the mind -- "must flow into and marry with the light of nature to bring forth a world." ── National Right to Life News, March 30, 1993, p. 22.
Some are blinded with—
Ⅰ. Pride, as Naaman (2 Kings 5:11,13).
Ⅱ. Self-righteousness, as the Pharisee (Luke 18:11).
Ⅲ. Riches, as the Rich Ruler ( Luke 18:23).
Ⅳ. Worldliness, as Demas (2 Tim.4:10).
Ⅴ. Covetousness, as Balaam (Jude 11).
Ⅵ. Self-will, as Saul (1. Sam.15:22,23).
Ⅶ. Prejudice, as the Rulers (John 7:47).
Ⅷ. Lust, as Esau (Heb.12:16,17).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
Ⅰ. Hear and believe. “ He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me” (John 5:24).
Ⅱ. Hear and follow. “ The sheep hear His voice……and follow Him” (John 10:3,4).
Ⅲ. Hear to be. “ Whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them” (Matt.7:24).
Ⅳ. Hear to be. “ Ye are My friends if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14).
Ⅴ. Hear and learn. “ She had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word” (Luke 10:39).
Ⅵ. Hear and endure. “ If ye continue in My word, then,” ＆c. (John 8:31).
Ⅶ. Hear and love. “ While I was musing the fire burned” (Psalm 39:3).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
"HOW WELL DO YOU LISTEN?"
1. During His earthly ministry, Jesus often concluded a lesson by crying
out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
a. E.g., concerning John the Baptist - Mt 11:15
b. E.g., the parable of the sower - Mt 13:9
c. E.g., the explanation of the parable of the tares - Mt 13:43
2. In His letters to the churches of
Asia, Jesus concludes each with a
similar saying: "He who has an ear. let him hear what the Spirit
says to the churches." - Re 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22
3. What is the point of these sayings?
a. It is akin to saying "What is being said is very important, so you
had better pay attention and listen!" - cf. Mk 4:23-25
b. It illustrates that Jesus had a problem that often exists today
1) Many people simply don't listen
2) Or don't listen so as to understand
4. I am convinced that many today don't appreciate the importance of
a. It concerned Jesus...
b. So I believe it is appropriate to ask, "How Well Do You Listen?"
[It might be profitable to begin by pointing out there are...]
I. THREE TYPES OF LISTENERS
A. THE "DULL OF HEARING"...
1. Some of the Hebrew Christians were like this - cf. He 5:11
a. Note that when a person has this problem, it is hard for
others to explain things to them!
b. The fault is not with the "subject" material, nor the
"presenter", but with the "listener"!
2. Isaiah wrote of such people, and Jesus applied it to many in
His day - Mt 13:13-15
a. People are this way because they are dull of heart!
b. This prevents them from:
1) Understanding God's truth
2) Turning from sin to God
3) And being healed (saved) by God!
-- Who would want to be this type of listener?
B. THOSE WITH "ITCHING EARS"...
1. Paul describes these in 2 Ti 4:3-4
2. Such people listen only to that which is pleasing
a. So they don't like "sound doctrine" (which often requires
the kind of preaching mentioned in 2 Ti 4:2)
b. They will find the teachers they want...but then they turn
from the truth to fables
-- Many today are often afflicted with this "hearing" problem!
C. THOSE WHO HEAR WITH "A NOBLE AND GOOD HEART"...
1. Jesus speaks of these in Lk 8:15
2. The Bereans were listeners of this kind - Ac 17:11
a. They were "fair-minded" (NKJV), thus willing to give Paul a
b. It showed in how they "received" (or listened to) the word:
"with all readiness"
-- This is the kind of listener we all should be!
[Why is it so important to be this kind of listener? There are several
II. THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD LISTENING
A. ESSENTIAL TO BEING BLESSED...
1. For those willing to listen properly, there are wonderful
things to learn - Mt 13:16-17
2. Many things which great people (David, Daniel, etc.) did not
have the opportunity to learn
3. Things pertaining to wonderful blessings that are now available
in Christ! - cf. Ep 1:3
-- We miss out on these blessings if we do not carefully listen!
B. ESSENTIAL TO SAVING FAITH...
1. God has ordained that we be saved through faith in Christ - cf.
2. Such faith comes through proclaiming the gospel, often
involving listening to a preacher - cf. Ro 10:14,17
3. While one can certainly gain faith through reading God's Word
(cf. Jn 20:30-31), the fact remains that many are often
dependent upon what they first hear proclaimed
a. One reason faith is often lacking is because people simply
are not good listeners
b. They miss out on the evidence in God's Word which produces
-- Does your "listening" hinder the development of your faith?
C. ESSENTIAL TO BEARING FRUIT...
1. In the parable of the sower, the only kind of soil (heart)
capable of bearing fruit was the one which listened properly
- Lk 8:15
2. That is because bearing fruit comes from "understanding" the
grace of God! - cf. Co 1:6
a. Note that the gospel was bearing fruit in the Colossians
b. But that was "since the day you heard and knew (understood,
NAS) the grace of God in truth;"
-- Only by listening well can we "understand" god's grace, and be
thus motivated to bear fruit to his glory!
D. ESSENTIAL TO PREVENTING APOSTASY...
1. There is a real danger of drifting, by neglecting "so great a
salvation" - He 2:1-3
2. The only solution is to "give the more earnest heed to the
things we have heard"
-- Poor listening is often the first step to apostasy!
E. ESSENTIAL TO AVOIDING REJECTION AND CONDEMNATION...
1. If we do not listen as we should...
a. Those who teach God's Word have a right to reject us - cf.
b. We are judging ourselves unworthy of eternal life - cf. Ac
2. If we reject the gospel (perhaps by poor listening?), the men
and the queen of the South will condemn us at the Nineveh
judgment! - cf. Mt 12:41-42
a. The men of
repented after hearing just one lesson Nineveh
from Jonah; will we reject the gospel of Christ after being
given many opportunities?
b. The queen of the South went great lengths to hear the wisdom
of Solomon; are we willing to go just a short distance to
hear God's Word proclaimed?
-- The rejection and condemnation is not limited to coming from
just these individuals...it will come from God, too!
[Hopefully, we appreciate the wonderful opportunities we have to be able
to listen to God's Word, and the importance of good listening! How
then can we improve our ability to listen? For just as speakers need to
learn to speak so as to be understood, people need to learn to listen so
as to understand! Here are some ...]
III. STEPS TO BETTER LISTENING
A. MAKE LISTENING AN ACT OF WORSHIP...
1. How you listen to God's word being read or preached is as much
an indication of your devotion to God as to how you pray or
2. So when you have opportunities to listen, do it with "a
a. Think of how you would listen if some great person were
b. Imagine your rapt attention if you were listening to some
-- Does not the proclamation of God's Word deserve as much
B. LISTEN FROM FIRST TO LAST...
1. I.e., pay attention all the way through
a. Do you expect to understand a novel by simply reading a
sentence here and there?
b. So it is with listening...sentences, phrases, words, to be
understood must be heard in light of the context in which
they are presented
2. Speakers must follow certain rules of speech so as to be
a. Introduce the subject
b. Present main points with supporting arguments
c. Conclude with a summary
-- So listeners must listen to ALL the parts to truly understand
C. LOOK AT THE SPEAKER...
1. This greatly aids your concentration
a. Looking elsewhere makes it easy for your mind to wander
b. Closing your eyes makes it easy for you to nod off!
2. This requires self-discipline, but it is conducive to
developing a longer attention span
-- Try it, and see if it doesn't make a difference!
D. READ ALONG IN YOUR BIBLE...
1. You remember more of what you both see and hear over what you
a. Which is why visual aids are often used in sermons
b. But the greatest visual aid is your own Bible!
2. Your knowledge of the Scriptures can be greatly improved by
3. It is hard at first to keep up, but persevere and it will soon
-- We encourage our children to do this, shouldn't adults provide
an example and do the same?
E. LISTEN WITH FAITH...
1. I.e., listen with a willingness to accept and believe what is
shown in God's Word
2. Notice He 4:1-2; those who died in the wilderness did not
listen with faith!
-- If we don't listen "with faith," the same sort of thing will
happen to us; i.e., fall short of our heavenly rest!
F. LISTEN WITH A MIND TO ACT...
1. Are we like the people in Ezekiel's day? - cf. Eze 33:30-32
a. They loved to hear him, but for the wrong reason
b. Do we love to hear sermons because of how well the speaker
2. Hearing must be accompanied by doing to be of any profit - Ja
-- As important as good listening may be, the blessedness comes
only if we are doers as well as hearers!
1. To be blessed in what we do...
a. That is my goal in presenting these thoughts on listening
b. For it all begins with listening in the proper way
2. How important, then, is listening?
a. When it comes to listening to God, very important! - Isa 55:2-3
b. It is essential for the good of our soul!
3. Is there ever a time when GOD does not listen?
a. Yes, when our sins are between us and God - cf. Isa 59:1-2
b. But we can take care of that problem by receiving God's Mercy
- cf. Isa 55:6-7
Today, that mercy is offered through Jesus Christ, God's Son. And as
"This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!" (Lk 9:35)
Have you heeded Him by obeying His word? Or does the following cry of
Jesus apply to you...?
"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things
which I say?" (Luke 6:46)