“Let a wise person listen and increase learning, and let a discerning person obtain guidance.” Proverbs 1:5 CSB
In an article titled, “Six Lessons on Good Listening” by David Mathis, he gives us some good advice on how to listen well. In order to be a good listener, we need patience. We have to take the time to let the other person talk without interrupting them. Remembering good listening is an act of love can help us have the patience to listen. Asking perceptive questions, questions that require more than a yes or no answer,lets the person know you are listening to what they are saying; they will know you want to hear more. Another point David brings up, good listening is a ministry. Taking the time to listen to someone allows them to share their heartache, or their joys. Sharing our hearts is what ministry is all about. Listening allows us to speak well. When we pay attention to what is on a person’s heart, we can respond with words of love and grace. Good listening also reflects our relationship with God. When we are listening to someone pour their heart out to us, we are reflecting to them what God does for us when we pray. If we want to speak more than we listen, we could be doing the same thing with God. We could be talking to God more than we are listening to Him. Patience is a virtue, but so is listening.
I was standing in line to weigh in at WW yesterday. I ended up in a conversation with the lady behind me in line. We started talking about marriage. She told me she had been married three times, twice to the same man. I asked her how that happened, I never expected what she said next. She told me about her mid-life crisis where she left her friends and family and moved to Idaho. Why Idaho? Because it was clean, she had driven through it once and liked it. She only stayed for about a year and half after divorcing her husband before she moved back to the area. Her and her ex-husband re-connected and they will be celebrating 20 years of marriage this year, plus the 17 years they had been together the first time around, 37 years in total. This lady warmed my heart as she shared her life story with me. The love in her eyes as she talked about how he had forgiven her and taken her back, melts my heart to think of now. But I would have never known her story if I hadn’t taken the time to listen and ask perceptive questions. Taking time to listen to someone is something I have to work at. I tend to be an over-scheduler, so I typically don’t have much margin in my schedule. I’m learning though, if I leave more margin in my schedule, I have more time to stop and listen. When I stop and listen, God never ceases to amaze me with what I hear. Take time to listen to someone today, you won’t regret it.