Psalm 81:13-14 (NIV) “If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!
Many people call this week a Love Week (whatever that means). Many people would agree that healthy relationships are characterized by effective communication. Many of the problems we have in relationships stem from broken communication between spouses, partners or between parents and children. One key to effective communication is listening. Listening is a discipline we have to learn. It takes effort and discipline.
As believers we need to learn to listen to the voice of God. God says in His Word in “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go” (Isaiah 48:17 NIV).
Listening is also a key to having successful businesses and careers. Effective leaders listen. Effective managers listen. Successful employees know how to listen. Active listening probes. You ask questions to understand what the other person is saying. Sometimes people communicate through what they are not saying. So active listening does more than processing the sounds that enter one’s ears. It is about learning to hear the intention or anguish or a multitude of things that were left unsaid. Effective listeners listen with their ears and hearts. They are attentive to the people around them. Whenever we are attentive to people around us, people feel valued and comfortable in sharing their concerns.
We also and need to listen to our critics. They may be misguided, but there might be a kernel of truth in their criticism. So, effective leaders listen to their critics and supporters alike. One philosopher said that a fool is someone who cannot learn, even from a wise man; and a wise person is one who will learn even from a fool. God sometimes [in fact many times] speaks through people and circumstances. One person said that the reason God gave you two ears and one mouth is that you will listen more.
The word of God says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19 – NIV).
Richard Moss said, “The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.”
- Do you surround yourself with wise and mature counselors?
- Do you ask wise people for counsel and for their insight on lessons they have learned?
- Do you regularly read about great Christian leaders?
- Do you carefully search out a matter before making a decision?