Have you been in a conversation with someone and


 you were not really listening completely to what they


 had to say because you are too busy formulating 


your response?


Have you ever found yourself mindlessly saying


“Uh huh” when someone was trying to tell you something? 


Listening is not a passive process.

Many people really do suffer from ADD; however, 

we live in a culture where attention deficit disorder,

 for some, has deliberately become the norm.

We all know how upsetting it can be to have someone 


not listen to our feelings, not validate our suffering, 


not just stop for a minute and take our perspective and 


let us know they understand.


Many treat conversations like a competitive sport by trying to 


dominate the conversation to see who can make the deepest, 


brightest, wisest, most intellectual points or who can wield, 


supposedly, the most superior knowledge. 

Finishing sentences for others and interrupting


sends a message that what you have to say


is more important and can diminish the speaker’s


sense of control and importance.

Allowing the person to completely finish their thought,


before you begin to form a response, is crucial to good listening.



If you need to move the conversation along, do so politely, as in,



“Excuse me, I'm so sorry for 


interrupting, but ….”



Likewise, be careful not to jump to conclusions


or assume you know what has not yet been said.



Trying to persuade others without fully listening


to their point of view can, sometimes, short circuit 


our blessings. Who knows... one could end up learning 


something that could change their viewpoint... 


or life.  


Some will miss out on boat-loads of information because 


they are busy planning how to respond or interrupt the speaker. 


This kind of conversation has tremendous pitfalls!

Two of the most difficult things to learn in life are to sincerely


 listen carefully... and bend low the ear of the heart.


The Scriptures remind us to... 


be ready to listen, and slow to speak.


One of the reasons many of us are so eager to speak next


 is because we feel awkward when there is silence in between 


speakers.

We should avoid steering others off topic


with questions or comments that aren’t 


related to the conversation. 

May we allow others to fully explain their position, 


problem, etc., before jumping in with a reply.


May we seek to understand, rather than waiting for

 an opportunity to speak.

Listening can be a more invaluable service than speaking.


Listening is a mark of humility. Saying less and hearing 


more, can make one more intelligent, compassionate and 


successful.



When our minds are quiet, we are more observant,


 more perceptive and able to think more clearly.


We are giving something important, useful, and 


admired to the person who's speaking when we are


 attentive. The person who's doing the talking will


 feel understood and valued.



In most cases, when people are not concerned with 


speaking, their focus and attention is on listening. 


They may hear many things and gain insights that 


they did not expect.



Listening to God and listening to people were both important


 practices for Jesus.Jesus was fully present with those whom


 He encountered. Jesus, deliberately, gave people His full 


attention. 



To listen so that we may really understand, and wait... 


allowing the person to complete their story... are two of 


the most beneficial things we can do for each other.



Jesus was kind and patient in allowing people to tell 

their stories. Jesus was empathetic. He was quick to pay 

attention to what was not said, as well.


Jesus mourned with people and was present in their 

pain. Jesus knew the best ways to minister to people 


was by listening with His ears and His heart.



When people are in crisis, grief, or pain, they need


 someone who will listen.

James 1:19 gives us a Scriptural example,

 “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be 

swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” 

Scripture itself encourages us to be quick to hear

 and slow to speak.

When we’re doing the talking, we’re typically


 not doing a whole lot of listening, and often


 not a lot of learning either.


A good listener gets to know something.


Listening more and speaking less can be very beneficial. 


We gain the respect and trust of those we are conversing 


with, and we command attention when we do speak.


It doesn’t mean we are thinking less, but when we silence 


our mouths and minds it can lead to a flow of increased 


information and knowledge. Our thoughts can become 


clearer and better stimulated with greater perception 


and awareness. These are gifts that come when we cultivate


 inner and outer silence.



To be perceptive of what’s going on around us when we’re busy


talking all the time can become a bit of a challenge. The less we speak


 the more we hear. The more we listen, the more we come to realize 


how much we don’t know and need to know. The humility that comes


 with this is a true sign of intelligence and enlightenment.


We should feel deeply honored when someone invites us in 


to be a part of understanding the experiences they have lived 


or are living. It is a great gift of trust that we should never take


 for granted.


We should always hold everything one has said in the strictest 


of confidence, even if the speaker has not requested it. People

 

are sometimes open and vulnerable in times of crisis and


 nothing they say needs to be repeated outside of the 


confidence in which they have spoken to us.


A positively good parable for living life is the Golden Rule:

"Do unto others what you would have

 them do unto you."

Listening is essential in relationships. It is also 


important that we listen with our hearts to hear 


what is not being said; to see what feelings and 


needs are really being conveyed. 



To listen allows us to walk through the experience


 of another's life.

It is interesting that in James 1:19, James' opening 


exhortation is... 


“Be quick to listen, slow to speak,


 and slow to get angry.” 



This follows the same sequence that Luke uses 


after presenting the parable of the sower. 


"Whoever has ears to hear, 



let them hear."


Luke 8:8


Jesus follows it with the exhortation, 


“Consider carefully how you listen.” 


Luke 8:18 


In Matthew (13:9), Jesus immediately follows the


 parable with, 


“Whoever has ears, let them hear.”


We should even wait a moment before we begin to respond.


This gives the speaker a chance to add anything else they 


may have thought of.



By waiting an additional moment before we reply we also 


let the speaker know they have been heard completely.



If we practice this for a time people will relax when 


conversing with us because they will know that they 


don’t have to rush to get their point across.



They will appreciate the fact that they can 


communicate with us and be heard and respected.


Effective listening develops empathy,


which is the capacity for a deep understanding


of another's experience.


We should sincerely work to understand one's message;


and ask relevant, open-ended questions to clarify


and learn more, i.e., (“What do you mean by that?” 


or “When did that happen?…”) this may help us stay


 involved.

Not interrupting gives the speaker 


a sense of importance, and it is the 


respectful thing to do.

May we listen with the genuine intent to understand 


what the speaker is communicating. "It is better to 


listen in order to understand... than to listen in order to 


reply."


May we be more receptive to the speaker’s needs –


they may just need us to listen, and not try to fix the 


problem.



Sometimes being listened to is


 enough.

“We have two ears and one mouth


so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Are you listening for understanding,


or are you focused more on what you 


are going to say next? 


As the other person is speaking, are you 


 not actually listening to much of what 


the other person is saying, or are you


busy crafting your response?



To gain greater insight, let us focus 

our attention on listening more.

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing,


a creative force.

Listening is the ability to accurately receive and 


interpret messages in the communication process. 


Listening is key to all effective communication. 


Without the ability to listen effectively, 


messages are easily misunderstood.




Listening is Not the Same as 


Hearing.


Listening requires focus and concentrated effort.


Listening means paying attention not only to the story, 


but how it is told.


Listening is an under valued art. 


Constantly talking isn’t necessarily...



communicating.

Paying attention



 is the cardinal rule for good listening.

* Pay attention to sound


* Hear with thoughtful attention


* Be considerate

The most basic and powerful way to connect 


to another person is to listen... 


just listen.

"No one is as deaf as the person


who will not listen."

Tips for being a good listener:



Maintain good eye contact. 


When we don't look someone in the eyes, 


it can come off as being arrogant, untrustworthy,


 disingenuous, or stand-offish. 



Our outward behavior can speak volumes and even create 


discomfort. Crossed arms can send the wrong message. 


Studies have shown that the subtleties of body language, tone,


 and posturing accounts for a huge part of how information is


 communicated or miscommunicated.


Let us cultivate the right demeanor. 




Listen with all senses and seriously concentrate and consider 


what is being said. Ask questions, when there is a pause, that


 takes the conversation deeper. Do not interrupt or speak over 


someone who is talking.


Nodding aggressively when someone is talking to you 

 indicates you are impatient and want the speaker to finish 

speaking quickly! This makes other people feel invalidated 

and rushed. Instead, let us gently and occasionally, nod 

our head to indicate agreement and interest in what the

 other person is telling us.


Let us PRAY for the gift of a 

listening heart.

"Wise men talk because they have something to say,


Plato once said. "Fools, because they have to say 


something." We can all become better communicators


if... we train ourselves to listen more.


To put more effort into listening


and less into telling


 is very rewarding.




Listen...