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Oct 30

Listen Beneath The Surface

Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

rememberingsA while back I wrote the very popular 9 Consequences Of Not Listening.

This week I’d like to highlight five listening moments.

Monday was Listening to Understand
Tuesday was Listen Deeply

Listen In

One of the treasures in my life is how much other people trust me. The joys, the sorrows, the missteps and the secrets that people share with me are among my most precious treasures.

Sometimes we wander onto a treasure like a random twenty dollar bill on the ground. Sometimes we find a treasure by randomly watching a movie on Netflix. Sometimes we have to dig deep for a treasure like hard gardening work in the Spring months before a Fall harvest.

People are like that.

Sometimes people will just choose to trust you.
Sometimes trust is earned over time.
Sometimes trust has to be pursued.

The pursuit to get to know people on a deeper level – to listen beyond the surface – is usually well-worth the effort. You gain a treasure of trust and the other person gains the treasure of a trustworthy person. That inter-dependence is critical, because…
– Real listeners are hard to find
– Most of our deepest hurts are relational ones
– We’re all more weak, broken and vulnerable than we admit
– The deepest pains and hurt are hidden in the deepest holes
– Unmet needs and distorted beliefs are toxic and can be deadly

How can you become an effective treasure-hunter?
By choosing to be a patient, empathetic listener who listens beyond the surface level.

Live It

Listening, effective listening involves empathy.

What’s empathy? Empathy is a genuine understanding and appreciation of another person’s experience.

What’s that look like? It looks like Jesus to me.

Some people brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch them, but his followers told them to stop. When Jesus saw this, he was upset and said to them, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to people who are like these children. I tell you the truth, you must accept the kingdom of God as if you were a little child, or you will never enter it.” Then Jesus took the children in his arms, put his hands on them, and blessed them.” 1

Like most people of the day Jesus’ friends thought children were insignificant. Jesus knew better. Jesus showed empathy. He welcomed them. He defended them. He embraced them. He loved them.

Jesus did the right thing even when his friends disapproved. Empathy is counter-cultural.

Empathy…
– listens to what’s being said
– feels ones own feelings
– connects with the speaker’s feelings
– looks for what’s not being said
– communicates back what’s being shared

It’s important to stress that empathy is not the same as sympathy. Sympathy involves feeling sorry for people; that’s helpful at times, but it may feel disrespectful to the other person. Empathy, on the other hand, is an expression of genuine understanding of the person’s feelings.

Mysilentscream: Empathy requires us to listen beneath the surface and you can do it too!

More tomorrow.

1 – Mark 10:13-16, NCV

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