Listen: to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being said, sung, or played. To hear what someone has said and understand that it is serious, important, or accurate.
My hearing test is scheduled for Friday because I’m having difficulty hearing individual voices in a crowd of people. It’s also becoming difficult to hear my grandchildren speak from the back seat when traveling because of the road noise.
As a coach, and counselor listening is foundational to everything I do. Furthermore, I love being a listening ear to family and friends who just want or need to talk.
My ears aren’t the only way I listen. I listen with my eyes, observing their body language, which often tells more than their words. I see a wide range of emotions in their face; tense or relaxed features such as crossed arms, clenched fists, or trembling hands all speak volumes.
I listen with my heart and spirit, asking God to reveal the truth about what they are sharing and what He is doing in their life. I’m listening to His voice and their voice which may seem confusing, but it’s not. God has a unique way of speaking into our conversations that only God can do. He often guides me with better, insightful questions that help reveal what’s going on below the surface.
However, listening with my ears is essential. Listening with my ears enables me to hear the emotion behind the words, revealing their feelings, which is key to healthy communication.
Scripture has a lot to say about listening; the first chapter of Proverbs challenges us who wish to be wise to listen:
Proverbs 1: 1-5 (NIV)
1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance.”
James, the brother of Jesus, also encouraged us to listen and follow through by doing what God’s Word says.
- “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, (NIV)
- “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22, (NIV)
What would the world be like if we spent twice as much time listening, learning, and understanding others instead of waiting for them to pause so, we can get our two cents in? Scripture teaches us that listening is priceless and the key to gaining wisdom. Since I trust God’s Word, I’m getting my hearing tested Friday because I still have a whole lot of listening yet to do.
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