I have a confession to make: I am not a good listener. I find myself mentally (more so than literally) drumming my fingers while someone else is talking. I find myself becoming bored, distracted and busy composing what I want to say. Not listening is really a silent, invisible activity. People rarely notice you doing it. They don’t necessarily know if you’re bored, distracted or as my wife likes to say “In La La Land.”
You may be thinking, ‘Mark, thanks for the
confession but what’s your point?’ My point is that the Bible puts a great deal
of importance on the subject of listening. Learning to listen has relational
benefits both vertically and horizontally. And if I’m not listening or striving
to be a listener, I’m not obeying what the Scripture says. (Proverbs 2; James
1:18-19; Psalm 119 and Deuteronomy 6). When you fail to listen to someone you
are sending out an army of negative messages. You really are saying; ‘I don’t
care about you – I don’t understand you – I think you are wrong – You’re stupid
– You’re wasting my time.’ It’s no wonder people never talk to you if that’s
the attitude that comes across in your listening.
People will tolerate
all sorts of rudeness, but the inability to pay attention to them holds a
special place in their hearts.
If you are not listening, displaying
extreme impatience, wanting people to hurry up and get to the point, displaying
body language and facial expressions contrary to being interested in what they
are saying, they will notice that and rarely think better of you for
All of us should be able to listen. After all, what’s it take to
keep our eyes open, our eyes looking at whoever is talking, and our mouths
shut? Sounds easy doesn’t it?
My challenge to myself and to those out
there like me who are not listening, 'STOP IT!' Stop interrupting or thinking
‘boring,’ and invest with those you communicate with. To borrow the words of
Scripture, ‘Be quick to hear (listen) slow to speak and slow to
P.S. Do you believe you’re growing spiritually? How
do you know? What is your measurement of spiritual growth? Do you feel you’re
at a standstill spiritually? That you are not as close to God as you once
were? Join us Sunday at 9:00 & 10:30 to probe these questions.