Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak. – James 1:19
In Origins – as we promote a culture of being interested, exploring and engaged in the lives of the people right in front of us – we should seek to grow in our fluency of the most basic, initial and tangible communications of love. When we think of how to best love and serve those around us we may start with ideas about how our hands can assist, rescue and protect. We may consider how our words can comfort, teach and encourage. We may consider how our resources can relieve, restore and rebuild. But how often do we consider the role our ears play? Often the best, most immediate and effective way we can serve others is simply to listen to them.
Listening demonstrates our interest in others – it communicates that we truly value them and helps us know them better. Listening helps us explore – it allows us to better understand others’ needs, where they want to go and how we can join with them. Listening is also an important way to engage the needs of others. There are times when a person just needs an outlet, or the comfort that comes from knowing that their voice is valuable to someone else.
For the most part, we don’t question how important listening is, but we might neglect to provide it to others if we’re too locked into our own story. Listening requires us to slow down, pay attention and sometimes even dig a person’s words out of them.
This week, make listening the rhythm of your life – the sort of thing you do frequently and on purpose.
Be fascinated by the people God has placed in your life and seek to know them better. Pick a speed that invites conversation and when you get one started, try to keep it going. Demonstrate that you’re enjoying someone’s story by asking follow-up questions and leave people with the sneaky suspicion that you truly value who they are.