The “Do’s” of Listening

When listening to other people, may feel like sacrificing your right to be heard.  John 13:35 says that through our love we will be known as Christ’s disciples.

empathyProverbs 18:13 “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame.”  When we listen, we have to pay attention to the one who is speaking. Hear the feelings that are being expressed.  – Try to empathise with the feelings of the other.  Reflect what is being said and/or felt by paraphrasing it.  Maintain eye contact. Listen without judging.

Romans 2:1 “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”  – Allow people to express what they feel, even when it is negative feelings like grumbling and complaining.  Release your own ideas of what is right. Recognise that you also can be negative and discontented.

Proverbs 17:28 “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.”  – Listen without dispensing advice.  Take seriously the words of another. Help others to discover their own answers.  Realise that attentive listening is more important than talking.  Realise that most people are not really seeking advice, they just want to be heard.

1 Peter 3:8–9 “Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called.”  – Listen without becoming defensive.  Display acceptance even when you disagree with the other person’s words.  Look for the kernel of truth when confronted by another.  Focus on points of agreement instead of differences.  Seek to understand how your emotions are affecting your communication. Seek to understand, not just to be understood.

Proverbs 17:9 “He who covers over an offense promotes love.” –  Listen with humility. Desire God’s approval, knowing that you are His beloved child. Seek to serve others. Value advice from others.  Be quick to overlook an offense.

1 Corinthians 13:4–7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  – Listen with love. Listen with a heart of compassion, unconditional acceptance, with an attitude of respect.  Listen for the underlying feelings. When we show empathy, it binds people together.