Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Art of Listening

"Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding" Proverbs 17:27

How often do we actually listen to other people? When we are busy chatting with a friend, how often do we find ourselves excessively chatting? I know I do that sometimes. A friend will be over, and it will be quiet, so we fill the air with needless chatter. Or someone will be telling a story, and it triggers our own story, so we are waiting on the edge of our seat for them to finish so we can share ours, or worse- we interrupt because we think our words are more important. The verse above clearly states that we need to listen more. We need to really listen to those around us, so we know what to pray for, and we know how our friends are really doing.

I think of our small group, and I wonder how often I truly listen to everyone as they are sharing with us. Oh, I listen plenty, but do I really hear what they are saying? Sometimes when you ask someone how they are doing and they reply with fine. Fine can mean so much. If you truly listen, maybe you can hear the cry for help or the need for a hug. Listening can be rewarded- according to the verse above, we can be filled with understanding. We can learn even more about our closest friends or learn something about something else. Other people are a wonderful source of information! So I am going to try listening more. God has so much to tell me, I would hate to miss it because I was too busy prattling on about myself or something less important- or just simply not listening. May God help me to be a better listener, because in the grand scheme of things, it will make me a better person and a better friend.

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