The “Don’ts” of Listening

When a Christian listens to somebody talking – what shouldn’t we do?  It is tough to hear what we shouldn’t do, but yesterday we focused on what we should do when we listen.

communication4James 1:19 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” – When listening, listen carefully and try not to interrupt.  When the conversation upset you, don’t let your emotions of anger override your thinking – rather hold your tongue for a while, think before you react.  When somebody talks listen, don’t begin thinking of how you are going to respond.  We have to be careful when we give answers, let it simmer and then answer – don’t be quick to answer.

When we listen we should listen attentively with an open heart, when we respond, refrain from criticism.  Don’t show contempt or disgust.  When listening, listen carefully, get all the facts, don’t just communicate your opinions.  If and when we react to what has been said, don’t react in ways that will put another in a defensive position.

Proverbs 10:19 “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” – Make sure that you heard what the speaker meant, and don’t give premature answers.  Don’t repeat platitudes and clichés. If a person shared his/her feelings, don’t make fun of it.

Proverbs 19:11 “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” – Be patient when listening, don’t expect others to have your point of view. When you disagree with has been said, don’t argue – just state calmly what you believe. If you have been insulted while listening to a person, don’t return with an insult. When people give you constructive or even negative feedback, don’t avoid it – but take it graciously and moll it over in the next few hours, pray about it and if necessary react then.

Proverbs 29:23 “A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.” – While listening, be humble.  Don’t see humility as a weakness. Don’t seek your own recognition and praise. Don’t become easily provoked. Don’t have a know-it-all attitude.

Proverbs 3:3 “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” – When we listen, have an open heart to what the person wants to say. Don’t close your heart to another. It is not always easy to listen to unpleasant conversations, be gracious and don’t tune out. Listen even though it might be difficult, don’t find ways to avoid conversation. When listening your attitude shows through your body language, don’t communicate impatience or boredom.

This is not easy to write, because I have to work on this and as I was sharing it to others, it seems as many of us has to work on it.  Lets do it prayerfully.