Listening As a Tool
In my continual study of communication skills, listening continues to reign as an essential one. Experts explain that how – with awareness, time, and practice – anyone can become a better listener. In fact, listening is a tool God has given us to change lives and deepen relationships.
“The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ears to listen like one being taught.” (Isaiah 50:4)
“The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” (Proverbs 20:5)
Listening As a Bridge
This holds true not just in our relationships with others but in our relationship with God, too. Consider how Dietrich Bonhoeffer actually bridges our ability to listen to others with our ability to listen to God.
“He who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too… Anyone who thinks that his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and his brother, but only for himself and for his own follies.” (The Ministry of Listening)
When we fail to listen to others, we’re likely failing to listen to God too. And, the less we listen to God, the more struggles we’ll have with our faith.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
Learning to listen to others directly impacts our ability to listen to God. The sustained attention required for listening is not something that is compartmentalized; it flows into every area of our lives because it becomes a part of who we are. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.
“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” (Proverbs 18:13)
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion.” (Proverbs 18:2)
Reflect On Your Listening
Is listening your first response? Do you seek to understand others?