In the current state of our culture, it seems that everyone is talking and no one is listening. There are so many topics to discuss and everyone has an opinion. But it seems that no one is listening.
A few years ago I went through a trying time where I felt like my opinions, ideas and suggestions were not valued or welcomed. I struggled with feelings of rejection that lead to some depression. During that time, I did some research and learned that I was not alone in my experience.
Studies show that one of the best ways to show someone love is to listen to them. Listening to others seems to be a lost art these days. What kind of listener are you?
Are you listening to understand? That means you intentionally choose to turn off all distractions and engage with the person speaking. Or, are you listening to respond? That’s means you’re listening but also formulating your response before the speaker is even done talking.
The Bible has strong words regarding this. It says in Proverbs 18:2, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”
So how do we show love by listening? We take time to allow someone to share their heart. We put their needs of being heard before our own. We give them the gift of our time and we wait until they have finished what they need to say before responding. Sometimes a response may not be appropriate at all. Perhaps they just need someone who will share their load without trying to “fix” things or have all the answers.
Who in your life needs you to just listen? Your spouse? Your child? Your parent? Your friend or coworker? When was the last time you laid aside your own agenda and offered someone a listening ear? Isn’t that what our entire culture needs right now?
I encourage you to start today. Make yourself available to listen without feeling the need to make sure everyone else knows your opinion.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. – James 1:19