Listening

 

Listen with love
Listen with your eyes
Listen with understanding
Listen often
Learning to listen is work

 

John Powell left us with a wonderful quote: "God gave us two ears but only one mouth...(perhaps) a divine indication that we should listen twice as much as we talk."

 

The dictionary defines listening: To pay attention; give heed; to participate in hearing; to be attentive in order to hear.

Now, that takes some energy! Perhaps as much energy as it takes to talk or speak. Listening is a skill and any skill takes practice. So...listening takes practice.

A lasting gift to a child or friend is the gift of a listening ear and a listening heart. It has been said that one can win more friends with their ears than with their mouths.

As a teacher, I have discovered that to listen takes, sometimes, more energy and skill than speaking.  There are many classes that present lessons on how to speak. Unfortunately, there are very few classes that teach the skill of listening to others with attentiveness and heart. I have listed five skills that one must develop in order to become a good listener.

1.  Listen with love. For a Christian, listening to one who is hurting is an important ministry. Sometimes, the one we are listening to is unlovable or their voice may be irritating and anxious. Sometimes, we don't listen with care because our own attitude colors what we are hearing. It is necessary to develop the skill of listening with love because listening can be a way of giving love.

2.  Listen with your eyes as well as your ears. The way one smiles, scowls, stands or sits speaks volumes. Our body language is important to the person that is doing the speaking. When eye contact is given we are saying, "I care."

3.  Listen with understanding. Each individual wants to know that they have been heard. The individual that is speaking and sharing wants to know that their feelings, anxieties and hurts have been conveyed to the listener. If, as a listener, you don't grasp what your friend is saying clearly, ask questions until you do understand..

4.  Listen often. Listen without lecturing or advising. An old quote; "Advice unasked for is advice unappreciated." Remember to listen in such a way that the friend can be totally open and feel absolutely free to share their deepest need. This is one of the greatest services that one human being can do for another.

5. Lastly, remember that the skill of listening takes work and work is energy. Give your friend your full attention....even if you have heard it before. God needs good listeners to give ministry and service to others.

 

 

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