Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized
A year and a half ago 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
Listening, really listening, makes a huge difference in our relationships.
– We hear more of what’s being said
– We quiet our need to be in control
– The speaker feels more lovable as we pay attention
– We assure the speaker feels worthwhile as we listen
– Our self-respect grows as we commend ourselves as capable listeners
While some of us are naturally more quiet, all of can improve our listening skills. Let’s consider the example of listening deeply Jesus Christ exemplified.
Jesus Christ’s best friends, his disciples, started arguing over which of them would be most famous. When Jesus realized how much this mattered to them, he brought a child to his side. 1
Why did Jesus bring a child into the conversation?
Mindset. In the ancient world children had no social standing. Jesus was wise and clear about his identity, and was willing to challenge the norm. He also knew how insignificant his disciples thought children were.
Motives. Jesus and his friends lived in a culture in which “status was a preeminent concern”. Jesus accounted for their bigotry while he listened. It helped him to know what was behind his friends motives. 2
Let’s listen in as Jesus calls his friends to a higher standard: “When you welcome even a child because of me, you welcome me. And when you welcome me, you welcome the one who sent me. Whichever one of you is the most humble is the greatest.” 3
What’s he saying?
Jesus is saying, “When you decide, when you finally decide, you really decide, wholeheartedly and completely that this child has irrevocable dignity and worth then you’ll understand what is really means to be great.” 4
He listened for understanding and then communicated on their level. We can do the same thing.
Listening, really listening is a skill. I’s a skill that some of us seem to be naturally gifted with, but all of us can cultivate greater listening skills. Listening beyond the surface helps us to hear a deeper meaning in the speaker’s words that we could find with an initial impulsive response.
When we listen for the deeper meaning, not just the what is said, but also seeking to listen deeply for why what’s being said is being said we gain additional insights and a deeper level of harmony and intimacy.
Warning: As often as possible check for understanding. Far too often we make misguided assumptions about what someone was thinking and misunderstandings occur.
1 – Paraphrased from Luke 9:46-48, MSG
2 – From The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener
3 – Luke 9:48, CEV
4 – The New Testament was written in Greek. God inspired the authors to create a written record out of what was primarily an oral history. In this case the Greek tense used was aorist. The aorist tense called for a clear, distinct decision.