When is the last time you felt listened to?
Listening is a technique few are proficient in, however, there’s a huge demand for this skill.
We live in selfish times. Everyone has something to say but few care enough to lend an ear. Trouble is—we can’t be there for others if we don’t hear them and we don’t get heard if we won’t first listen.
“Go ye therefore into all nations and preach the gospel.” This is the King James Version of God’s commission to us. We naturally associate “preach the gospel” with talking. Newer versions explain we are to make disciples. Discipleship is about following. The only chance we have at helping someone change their direction is to listen to their perspective.
We all have various wounds and healing takes time. No one’s ever mistaken me for The Great Physician—but me. My best prescriptions have multiple side effects.
God formulated an excellent rehabilitation plan called salvation. He gives me a different way to think. Not just a pie-in-the-sky future, but a purposeful life that’s experienced to the max. All day, each day.
Imperfection breaks my link with God. Restoring this bond demands His continual forgiveness. The thing that makes our God exceptional is that His love never quits. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3 NIV.
My job is to pay attention. “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 11:15 NIV. If I don’t know the Father’s voice how will I hear His solution? Not only that, if I’m not in right connection with Christ I have nothing to offer others.
Life’s about the give-and-take of relationship. Notice give comes before take. If I don’t give ear to what God says then I remain stuck—wading around in my shallow perspective.
“…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…” ~ James 1:19 NIV
Furthermore, if I don’t give my attention to understanding others, I end up alone. Me and my good ideas. No thanks. Speaking into someone’s life is a privilege. That privilege is earned by listening to their heart.
If you know me at all you know I’m an extrovert. I have a ton of great ideas and something to say about everything.
The good news–God can use this gift in powerful ways. The bad news–if I’m not careful, I fall into the bottomless pit of know-it- all.
That’s why I made a three-fold pact with myself.
- No opinion blurting. I will hold my tongue between my teeth until the person I’m listening to asks a question.
- No analyzing. I will concentrate on how I relate, instead of how I can fix.
- No good ideas. I will ask the Lord permission before giving a solution.
I realize I won’t get it all right but God is ever so patient. He looks at the heart—not the mouth.
If I can’t listen to others, others won’t listen to me. Being attentive is a priceless gift the world is desperate for. It opens doors and ears to the truth of God—the One we’re suppose to be sharing.
Let’s be different than the world and listen for a change.