Posted on Monday, July 26, 2010
in Relational, Social
Listening is a choice. You can choose to listen attentively or you can choose not to.
Listening requires self-control. Choosing to listen and not to speak requires self-discipline for most people. Sadly many people spend all their time waiting for the other person to stop so they can talk again.
Listening requires practice. The discipline of listening becomes easier as we learn to value listening.
I value listening more because I believe it demonstrates God’s character.
How you ask? Consider how much more God listens to you than speak to you. God doesn’t speak often, but God spoke through the prophet:
“So once again, I, the LORD All-Powerful, tell you, ‘See that justice is done and be kind and merciful to one another! Don’t mistreat widows or orphans or foreigners or anyone who is poor, and stop making plans to hurt each other.’” [Zechariah 7:8-10, CEV]
So many people spend a lot of time and energy “making plans to hurt each other.” Gossip, backstabbing, drama, and Facebook rants all add to the toxicity of relationships. God calls us to a higher standard.
God challenges us to “be kind and merciful to one another.”
Listening to one another is just, kind and merciful. When we listen — really listen — we will have a greater opportunity to hear much we have in common with one another.
You and I and everyone around us want to feel — what we talk about each week at TreeHouse – lovable, capable and worthwhile.
We express directly and indirectly how worthwhile one another are when we listen.
Choosing to listen is a gift – a reward — for the person who is being heard as well as for the listener:
– You might learn something.
– You might find yourself relaxing when you feel less pressure to speak.
– You might appear wiser than you are when you are repeating back their own insights.
– You might become more compassionate than you are.
– You might find yourself caring more than you had because you gain insight.
– You might find yourself less prideful when you realize you’re not a “better” person.
– You might understand yourself and your own motives as you listen to others.
– You might find your relationships improving as you learn to listen more patiently.
The world would be a much better place if we took more time to listen and appreciate the thoughts and feelings of others.
When we choose to listen, listen, listen we will have far less time and inclination to make “plans to hurt each other.”
I challenge you to join me to listen, listen, and listen to one another.