Thoughts flitting through our mind while we smile and listen to Mary:
What should I make for dinner?
Did I turn off the stove?
What should we do about Tommy’s “D” in science?
Should we paint the living room honey gold or aspen white?
And then it happens. Mary asks “What do you think I should do?”
Umm. What was she saying? Something about her mother’s failing health.
Are we good listeners?
Do we listen well? Do you pay attention to what the person is saying? Are we engaged in what they are sharing?
Robert Cheong says, “Listening is a form of love. You love others when you listen to others.”[i]
It makes sense doesn’t it? Listening is caring about what the other person is saying and feeling. Listening well communicates, “I care about you.”
Have you ever been with someone who makes you feel like the house could fall down around you and they wouldn’t notice because they are so intent on what you are saying? They make you feel like you are the only person in the world at that moment.
Then there are the times when you are pouring out your heart to someone and suddenly something or someone catches their eye and you realize they are not listening to you at all.
Which of the two makes you feel more loved and cared for? The first person.
When I only half-heartedly listen (guilty as charged) I believe that what I am thinking about or what I have to say is more important than what you are thinking about or have to say. I am loving in that moment but I am loving me rather than you.
Listening well requires I die to what I want so that I can give my undivided attention to the other person so that I may fully engage in what they are saying.
Listening well is one way to fulfill the second great commandment. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. And it models our Father When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. Matthew 22:39; Jeremiah 29:12 (The MSG)
Ask yourself: Do I listen well? Do I love others enough to listen to them?
It takes practice. So go ahead and start listening with a whole new perspective.
[i] Robert Cheong. Gospel Cares, coming 2017.
Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.