“Hearing is a function of the ear.
Listening is a function of the heart.”
Listen: to hear something with thoughtful attention
Certain sounds often evoke an emotional response deep within us. I remember the early morning sounds of my father making coffee and packing his lunch as he prepared to leave for work. The sounds that momentarily stirred me from my slumber also brought a sense of comfort. They reminded me that all was right in the world. I didn’t have to worry about where my next meal would come from or where I would live. The sounds told me that Dad was taking care of everything, and I could just be a kid.
If you listened to the sounds in your home, what would you hear? Would you hear laughter or crying? Would the sounds within your home surround your family with feelings of love, warmth, and security? I hope so, especially during these difficult days. However, learning to listen isn’t as easy as it sounds.
In James’ letter to the twelve tribes of Israel, he challenged us to become better listeners:
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20
Becoming a better listener requires learning to listen with our eyes and heart, not just our ears. Much of the messages that our loved ones send are nonverbal. Therefore if we genuinely want to hear what our loved ones are saying, we have to put down the remote, drop the tablet, and listen. Just listen. Our loved ones speak every second they are awake; we just have to learn to listen!
Heartfelt listening is love in action. Opening our hearts to listen truly allows God’s light to shine through us. Having someone who truly listens to us without trying to fix us is a truly treasured friend. I hope you are that kind of friend.
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