by George H. Morrison

There Are Things We Cannot Hear
George H. Morrison
John 8:43

I should think that when these words were spoken they must have caused a great deal of perplexity. They seemed a contradiction of the facts. There are speakers whom one cannot hear well. It is a common complaint against the clergy. Especially in the open air there are voices that have little carrying power. But I do not imagine for one moment that this complaint was ever made of Jesus. He could be heard on the outer edges of the crowd. Every word He spoke was audible in the clear still air of Galilee. Even the officers had to bear their testimony that never man spoke like this man. And one can easily picture the perplexity of those who that day were round about Him when our Lord said, "Ye cannot hear My word."

So one comes to feel that for our Lord hearing was not a physical activity. It was rather the reaction of the soul on the syllables which fall upon the ear. Just as two men may look at the same scene yet see in it very different things, so may they listen to the same set of words yet hear the most dissimilar suggestions. It was of such hearing, such spiritual receptivity that our Lord was thinking when He said, "Ye cannot hear My word." For it is not with the ear we hear. It is with the character and spirit. It is by all that we have set our hearts upon, by everything that we have struggled for. Every temptation we have ever met, every sin we have ever fought and mastered determines the kind of thing that we shall hear as we take our journey through the world. Live meanly and you hear meanly, though you be listening to the Lord Himself. Live nobly and you hear nobly, though all that the ear catches is but commonplace. There is a great responsibility in speaking if for every word we are to give account; but our Lord was equally aware of the tremendous responsibility of hearing.

One finds that selective power of personality in one of the best known of the gospel narratives. For we read in S ...

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