31st July 2018

The Importance of Listening

“While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!’”
Matthew 17:5 (CSB)

There is nothing more frustrating than having a problem with your phone, your car, your broadband, your bank or one of the utility companies and the person on the other end of the phone simply does not listen. Each time the problem is passed to someone else, you have to begin again and explain it from the beginning. Or perhaps you have been talking to someone and you can see they are not really listening to you, just passing time while they look for someone more important to talk to. Incredibly rude, but it happens!

Listening properly, giving the other person your undivided attention, is a skill that can be learnt and developed. But in our world of constant communication, it’s a skill which seems to be dying out. What about Christians, do we have the skill of listening? Christianity is, at heart, about relationships, first with God, then with all the other people we come into contact with. As the verse above shows we first need to listen to God. But could part of our life as a Christian be devoted to developing the ability to listen and to give people our full undivided attention? Seems almost too simple to believe, but when you really listen, focusing on the other person’s concerns, you will find that the relationship between you deepens and strengthens.

In our busy world finding someone who really listens to you is so rare that such a person stands out. So if we want to share our faith, as and when we are asked, perhaps the key is to become an active listener, to build a solid relationship with another person first. We need to be listening to learn and to help; trusting God to create an opportunity for us to speak at the right time for that person. We should not listen with the ulterior motive of preaching the gospel or getting the person to come to church. We need to learn to listen with a genuine love and concern for all the people we meet, because often just listening properly to someone is all the encouragement and help they need. We can never know the pressures and pain behind another person’s smile but God does. Maybe just being a listener is the way God will use us in a relationship from time to time.

In times of difficulty, such as death or illness in the family or the many other pressures in life today, being able to talk to someone who really listens may be all a person needs to cope, to survive a crisis, to get back on track. They may not realise it now, but that may be the way God is working with them at that moment in their life. Becoming a better listener makes you a better Christian and a better person!

Remember, too, that God always listens to us.

Loving and merciful Father, thank you for always being ready to listen to us. Please help us to learn to listen to others properly so we can help them, and so maybe the time will come when they want to listen to us talk about the hope that is in us.
In Jesus name we pray.

Study by Keith Hartrick


About the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: malcolm701@googlemail.com

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