Monday, April 16, 2012

Listening to Others

How often do you listen to people?
This is a real problem that I have, I don't listen enough. I am always quick to talk and very slow to listen.
It says in James 1:19-
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

We are also called, as Christians, to minister to others and lead them to Christ if they are struggling in their lives or are far from God or are looking for purpose etc.

Its always easy to tell people that they should talk to God, pray, confess, repent etc etc,but is it easy to actually sit down and LISTEN to what they have to say.
Its like you give them the answer before they have asked the question!

Often, people are very private about their feelings and don't really want to speak about what is bothering them. Sometimes, some of these people want to to speak to someone but they just don't know who, when or how. You may be that person!
People also have different ways of approaching the issue. Some will just start talking, others will only open up over a beer when they are relaxed and often most people will only talk to you if they trust you not to tell the whole world about their issues.

How will they trust you? - They will be able to see how you live your life and how you handle problems and issues. If you are an aggressive person that talks a lot and is always first to speak, Would you speak to you about your issues! I would want to speak to someone who is slow to talk and quick to listen, someone who is at peace with their lives and I can see has a certain "happiness" in their lives.
I may not know what that happiness may be and where it comes from,and possibly that is exactly why I would speak to a person like this - to find out more and why they are so at peace.

What James is saying is that if we listen instead of lambasting people with talk, we are slow to anger and slow to show aggression.
I took this out of Adam Clarke's Commentary -
Those who are hasty in speech are generally of a peevish or angry disposition. A person who is careful to consider what he says, is not likely to be soon angry.

How do we just listen? Well, Keep quiet. Be a person that people can trust to speak to. Don't put the other person in a situation where they may feel uncomfortable. Most people will talk to you in an environment where they feel comfortable. Perhaps a pub, gym, church, running a race, whatever. These are some situations where we least expect people to talk to us about what worries them and we are totally unprepared, but we need to be expectant of this and be inviting when someone wants to open up to you.
Affirm with them that everything is confidential.

After you have "listened", depending on the situation, maybe then try and direct them to a place or thought when you experienced God. We have all had those, and some people just want affirmation that there is a God who cares and wants to know them intimately and who loves them.
AFTER they have spoken, then talk!

Bless you as you learn to listen. Listening is a direct gift from God through His Holy Spirit.

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