Over the last couple of months I began to notice people's conversation skills, how they listen, and examples of good listeners. When we visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum and Library in Atlanta, Georgia, there was a great example of listening that stood out to me. I used it in my talk:
Last Saturday, I visited the Jimmy Carter presidential museum in Atlanta. I was in elementary school when he was elected, so all I really remembered about President Carter was that he was a peanut farmer and had a daughter close to my age. It was very interesting to me as an adult to look at his life, and see how his faith showed through his presidency. One display highlighted the Peace talks that he set up in 1978 at Camp David, Maryland. This was a time when good listening led to peace for two countries.
President Carter had established a friendly relationship with both Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Despite their initial efforts for peace, the two countries had a long history of difficulty with each other. First Lady Rosalynn Carter suggested to her husband that inviting them to Camp David, where privacy might provide the setting for a breakthrough. Both men accepted, but with their personality differences, it was a hard task for President Carter to negotiate. One was very concerned with details, whereas the other left the details to his advisors. Carter had to listen well as he drafted and re-drafted peace agreements. Do you know how long these peace talks lasted? 13 DAYS! After the first 3 days, they reached an impasse. Carter thought he might have a fistfight on his hands. He then went back and forth from Begins cabin, then to Sadats cabin with concessions. At one point Sadat decided to leave and ordered for his helicopter. Carter convinced him to stay. Then Begin decided to leave but before doing so he asked Carter to autograph pictures taken of the three men for his eight grandchildren. Unbeknownst to him, Carter’s secretary had found out the names of each grandchild. Carter signed each photo “with love and best wishes to ______” and put each individual name. When they were presented to Begin and he saw the names of each child written on each photo, he got tears in his eyes and so did Carter. He said, “Why don’t we try one more time?”Rosalyn confirmed this story and she believed the pictures touched Begin’s heart as he thought about his grandchildren living in peace. It led to the three men being able to come up with a peace agreement between the two countries, and the Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel stands to this day. As Carter addressed Congress about it later, he quoted from Jesus’s Sermon on the mount, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” Jimmy Carter showed excellent listening and negotiating skills and great perseverance during that time.
The bottom line of the lesson was LISTENING IS LOVING. 💜
In Matthew 26, Jesus spoke the greatest commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Having a listening heart is loving. Having a listening heart encourages others and helps us serve them better. Hearts that listen can resolve problems, heal divisions, and promote peace. Hearts that listen can change the world.
Don't you love it when you dive into a topic and enjoy learning and sharing about it?