Are You Even Listening?
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” – James 1:19
In any setting, any relationship, we must listen to each other. In leadership, it is stated that good leaders are good listeners. Leaders must listen to the donors, volunteers and staff. Organizations must listen carefully to their customers, employees, investors, communities, and other stakeholders. Churches must listen to God, to the congregation members, and to the community. The trouble is that we do not listen. We hear, but we do not listen. Someone once said, “You have 2 ears, and one mouth for a reason – listen twice as you speak.” In relationships, some of the fighting and arguments would cease if we learned to listen to each other. When you listen, you understand the other’s perspective.
Author Steve Covey stated, “Seek to understand before being understood.” We must strive to listen first, before we seek to be listened to.
Hearing is the natural process of sound waves hitting the out and internal hearing organ – the EAR. Listening is an art. Most people are born with the ability to hear. We are not necessarily born with the skill of listening. Listening is more than hearing. You must develop your listening skills. “The word LISTEN contains the same letters as the word SILENT.” –Alfred Brendel
“When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice
You have not done what I have asked
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I should not feel that way
You are trampling on my feelings
When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems
You have failed me strange as that may seem
Listen! All I asked was that you listen, not talk or do anything—just hear me
I can do for myself – I am not helpless
I may be discouraged and faltering- but not helpless
If you do things for me that I can, and need to do for myself, you contribute to my
Fear and weakness
But when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational
Then I can quit trying to convince you and get about the business of understanding
What is behind the irrational feeling
When that is clear, the answers are obvious and I do not need advice
Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what is behind them
So, please listen and just hear me and, if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn and I’ll listen to you…” (Unknown)
Many people are looking for someone to listen to them. Ask God to remind you, and to help you be a good listener. Learn to practice the ministry of presence. Be there for someone wants your ear, your time, call or visit.
Have you heard from God, lately? Are you too busy, to distracted to listen to Him?
What has God been saying to you lately? How are you responding to His words?