Monday, October 24, 2016

Are you a good listener?

How often have you heard, "Seek first to understand and then to be understood." You might not remember because you probably weren't listening...

It's interesting that the people we call friend are occasionally unavailable when we need them to answer the phone.

I am forever grateful to have a friend who has never left me in need and is always ready to hear my cries, comfort my fears, and congratulate the accomplishments I have achieved through Him.

Recently a woman in Houston, TX was arrested for simply not listening.

How does someone get fired for refusing to pay attention??

Well...She was a 911 emergency operator who would randomly hang up on callers that she didn't feel like listening to. It is assumed that she hung up on hundreds of individuals and was actually recorded saying after hanging up, "Ain't nobody got time for this. For real." See the article here.

James 1:19, "Understand this, my dear brothers and sister: you must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry" (NLT).

We could all use a lesson in listening skills.  Honing our listening skills allows us to not only be considerate of those who are requesting our attention but also cognizant of God's whispers of direction for our lives.

Here are a few tips for being an active listener.

In Brasil listening to the translator.
1. Focus - Keep the main thing the main thing. If you are privileged enough to be the person that someone reaches out to - honor the moment by paying attention to what they are saying.

"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said" --Peter Drucker

2. Feedback - listen to hear and not to respond makes sense, but what happens when you are at a loss for words? The blessing of having The Holy Spirit is that He is great at filling in the gaps. Seek God in every situation and allow Him to fill your conversation with what is best to say. If He is quiet - you should be quiet also. "I don't know" is an appropriate answer when you really don't know.

3. Be Fair - Your words carry weight. You can either drag people down or keep them from flying off unnecessarily.  Remember that we have all been in a place of need at some time. Avoid judging others for something you were once guilty of yourself.

Listen up! The cost of paying attention could equal the value of your life or a friend's.

Proverbs 1:5, "A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel."