The Blank Look Does NOT say it All

Remember that minister who wouldn’t stop? His sermon seemed never-ending. And phrases like “and finally” or “in closing” were only segway to more & more & more?

I’ve sat in those services & thoughts, “Please, Minister, look around you! See the blank looks on everyone’s faces?  You’ve lost us. PLEASE stop!”  But those kinda speakers never seemed to notice the body language.

(NOTE:  My husband does NOT do this. His sermons are short (usually around 1/2 hr. and funny but full of impact. Just sayin!)

Well,  Tuesday I started reading a book to my little boys that was definitely for older children. But we tried it anyway. The boys sat for a couple minutes. Then the laid down on the couch. Reached for toys… or anything nearby.

So I asked a few questions & got them more involved. But within seconds they were hangin off the couch again just looking blankly at the wall.

I stopped reading.

“MOM! What are you doing? Keep going! Please!?”

“But you weren’t listening. We’ll read more tomorrow.”

“No, Please, I wanna know what happens next.”


So I read. Quite a lot, actually. And when I finally stopped my oldest boy (only 6 yrs. old) asked if he could please draw a picture of the story.  And he did. With great detail. He took delight in making giant background scenes & specific characteristics of each person mentioned in the story.

He was listening! And each morning since then  he’s asked me to continue reading the book that is several grade levels above his current grade. I learned something from this.

It’s NOT that preachers/speakers should ignore body language! I simply realized again that we cannot judge a situation by sight only. We can’t sum up people by first glance & then assume we know what’s happening inside of them. (I hate to admit it, but those of us in ministry do this sometimes.)

How to avoid this icky mistake? Talk. LISTEN. Ask questions. Spend time  together. Serve together. Be interested in them, genuinely. Their “blank-look” isn’t blank (unless, of course, the sermon is lasting for an hour). Something’s going on… and what a joy it is to find out what it is & be a part of their lives in some way.

Can you think of a time when you’ve assumed you knew what was going on in someone’s life & why, and then treat them according to your deduction?



5 thoughts on “The Blank Look Does NOT say it All

  1. WOW! This is convicting! I make way too many assumptions about others – or I expect people to respond how I’d respond. Thanks for the reminder to LISTEN, be patient, and trust that there must be more than meets the eye.

  2. Wow. This was so good! I do tend to judge a book by its cover sometimes. A few weeks ago I was annoyed with a mom who didn’t seem to be watching her kid very carefully and also who didn’t seem to have taught him to, well, play nice. But then I chose to give grace & talk with her. Turns out he is a foster kid & she is caring for him & giving him the love he needs. She didn’t get him until he was a bit older, so that’s one reason the situation is like it is. He also has some speech delays, etc. I’m so glad I didn’t act on my initial judging, even though I need to work on even thinking that way.

  3. Wow, really good. I’ve made the mistake of trying to sum people up. It was me trying to get back to “my life”. Which is just selfishness. Thanks for the post

  4. sometimes I accuse my husband of not listening to me, but then I have to apologize because he was 🙂 hehe. This is a great reminder, we gotta love people for real, not just surface stuff.

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