Before the advent of cabbed tractors, left ear deafness was common among tractor operators who looked over their right shoulder at the implement they’re pulling because that turned their left ear toward the front of the tractor where the engine and exhaust system are located.
I have right ear deafness. My hearing was damaged because the engine on a piece of equipment I used to operate was about three feet away from the driver’s seat on the right side.
My hearing is selective because while I can hear bass tones almost too well, I often don’t pick up the higher or softer tones of children’s voices and quite often my wife’s.
I wish I’d been more careful to use hearing protection when I was younger and I did start using it when I realized there was a problem. (Young people, take care of your hearing now so you’ll be able to enjoy your grandchildren’s voices later; it’s also pretty important to hear the spouse’s call).
Those who know me best know how to accommodate the issue: They talk into my left side.
We should have selective hearing in several ways. I recall a song with a verse that goes, “Be careful little ears what you hear. Be careful little ears what you hear because your Father above looks down on you in love. Be careful little ears what you hear.”
About the only benefit I see from poor hearing is the inability to hear others talking about me behind my back, whether or not what they say is good or bad (Ecclesiastes 7:21). I try not to pay attention to most of those that are not constructive when I hear them anyway.
What we hear could impact us for eternity. Our very salvation comes by hearing God’s word, putting it into practice, and teaching them to our children (Romans 10:13-17; Acts 22:16; Matthew 7:21-27; James 1:22-27; Deuteronomy 6:4-7; 31:12-13).
Many people don’t want to hear the truth so they listen to those who tell them what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3-4; John 3:19-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
By choice, they’ll never hear the truth that leads to salvation and both teacher and student will suffer the same fate (Matthew 13:11-16; 15:14). On the other hand, those who’ve heard and embraced the truth shouldn’t be able to help but talk about what they’ve heard (Acts 4:18-20).
The song I quoted above also warns our feet about where we go. When we go to church, we need to be careful to compare what we are taught with the word of God for that’s the only source of faith that leads to salvation (Acts 17:11). We should do whatever it takes to make sure we are hearing only the truth. Then, we need to make sure we do what it says (Revelation 1:3; 3:20-22; John 14:15-17; Acts 2:38-39).
Do you use selective hearing to assure that what you hear agrees with the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:26-27; 1 Peter 4:11)?
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at email@example.com