Sunday, September 1, 2013

Listening...



Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger


The book of James is quick to remind us that part of our Christian duty is to listen to another.  It's strange though to think that the average thought of what it means to listen, is not to hear what they have to say.. but to quickly find out their problem, and fix it.



We so often sit hearing another person without actually listening to them. Our mind is often filled with our own preoccupation of what it is that they are speaking about and we wait with some sort of anticipation to interject what we agree with or what we disagree with, or even to say 'here is the answer' to their dilemma.  I was reading a very interesting book and in it there was this astounding thought to me, when my listening becomes a point where I am going to interject something of my own experience, to tell them here is what I agree with of what you said.. or here is what I disagree with.. we have made it no longer about them, but about me.

How much more powerful and resulting would a conversation be if we spent that time actually listening, putting ourselves in their shoes, and attempting to understand fully what they are conveying?  Not simply looking for where they are wrong, or where we are right, or trying to scientifically categorize an answer to their problem;  but simply listening and making sure they know we are listening.  Not systematically dissecting the situation with questions, but simply commenting on their feelings "You were feeling quite betrayed by their actions.  That makes it very hard to trust them again."   Is much more about them than "I'd never talk to them again!" which as become about you.

So do we have it in us? To listen? Not just to hear, but to listen.. unconditionally?  Or are we stuck as a society that is about the I, and not the you?