Being Quick to Listen
- Wednesday, December 05, 2007
How often do we hear something, but fail to believe or learn it? The path to learning about each other is through understanding one another; to understand we need to communicate, and listening is a foundation of that communication. Whether it’s listening to a family member, a friend, a spouse (or potential one), or the Lord himself, being “quick to listen” takes patience, practice and time. It is an important building block to a healthy relationship.
Do you ever meet someone that you met years ago and they greet you by your name and pick up where your last conversations left off? Do you wonder how in the world they remembered? I meet a lot of people during a typical day and need to remember many names and facts about them. Sometimes I find it difficult to remember because I was distracted by what I was doing, I was passing judgment, or I was thinking about someone else. In other words, I didn’t have “thoughtful attention” and I didn’t choose to listen.
In Nehemiah 9:16, those of Israelite descent said of their ancestors, “Our ancestors were a proud and stubborn lot, and they refused to obey your commands. They refused to listen and did not remember the miracles you had done for them.”
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in ourselves and what we have to say that we don’t listen to another’s thoughts, opinions or ideas. If we are looking for validation for our own thoughts, we will not be able to remember what the other person is saying.
Jesus had to constantly remind his disciples of things that He had told them earlier.
“’You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’ Don’t you remember anything at all?” Mark 8:18 (NLT).
“Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master’” John 15:20 (NIV).
“Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?” 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (NIV).
Have you ever forgotten something what someone close to you had shared? Learning to remember better will speak care and love in your relationships because you cared enough to listen.
One of the greatest strengths of the enemy is helping us make our days full and busy. Our schedules are packed with work, taking care of our personal necessities, and enjoying our “toys.” We can even become too busy and distracted working in “ministry.” After filling up our days we don’t leave much time for the thoughts and care of others. We also tend to leave little room for communicating (and listening) to friends, family, and most importantly the Lord.
Throughout the Bible, we are shown examples of people like Lot’s wife who don’t listen or heed warnings and others who sit and listen for the Lord’s voice like Philip and Mary. Before you get too wrapped up into your own world, be quick to listen so that you will understand, learn and remember. Look for opportunities to listen to others and listen to the Lord. You’ll be amazed at what you hear.
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (arose books). An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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