Do you think you are a good listener? What? “You talkin’ to me?” (Robert Di Nero…young people Google it. It is a famous movie line. LOL). How about I PROVE to you that you are NOT as good a listener as you think you are? How many times have you watched certain commercials and then thought, “What was that commercial about? I like the music, but I don’t know what it was about.” Or your spouse says, “I’ve told you about this several times, you forgot?” You did not listen! There is a big difference between needing a hearing aid and needing a listening aid. What we all REALLY need is a listening aid. We hear, but we don’t listen.
We need to pay attention to the world around us. We are programmed from a very early age to tune out distractions. Unfortunately, that causes arguments, divorces, lawsuits, even wars. What if we sought to change the world by listening? Is that even possible? We CAN change the world by changing OUR world.
- We sought to understand first, then to be understood? That would require not just hearing…but listening intentionally with humility and love.
- We actually checked what we heard to make sure that the message we received was what was intended? Don’t assume you know what they meant. You know what they say about assuming. It makes an ass of you and me.
- We listened without forming a comeback before the sentence was even finished? We all know people that have to have the last word and won’t let you finish a sentence without butting in to make sure you heard them! Hopefully, this is not you. If it is YOU, for the sake and sanity of all those around you, stop it!
I am not suggesting that you intently watch and listen to every commercial you see on TV or hear on the radio, although I am sure the advertisers would be oh so grateful. I AM suggesting that you intentionally listen to those people in your sphere of influence. Listen to your spouse, your children, your friends, your customers, the people that you interact with every day. Truly listen to them. Look them in the eye when they are talking to you. God gave you two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionately.
Two others that you need to consider listening to:
- Yourself. Trust that gut-check you get when you hear something that is not quite right. At the very least, double check what you heard to make sure that what you heard was the intended message.
- God. He is speaking to us, but we are so busy complaining or giving him our wish list, we don’t hear Him. Take time to just be still, and listen. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you actually hear.