27th January 2014

Listen Up 

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”
James 1:19 (NIV)

One advantage of talking to yourself is that you know at least somebody’s listening. You’ve probably been in conversations where you are waiting for the other person to pause for breath so you can get a word in, only to find that when they have caught their breath, they carry on exactly where they had left off, having not listened to a word you have said. It’s not so much a conversation, but a monologue that can be so frustrating, and leave you feeling that they are not really interested in you at all. 

Theologian Paul Tillich once said, rather astutely, “The first duty of love is to listen.” Yet it seems that an attentive listener is a rare thing. Too many people do not heed the wise words of the author of Proverbs: “To answer before listening—that is folly and shame.” (Proverbs 18:13). 

When we listen to someone else, we make some profound statements with our pauses and silence. 

First, we communicate that others do matter; that they have something of value to contribute and that their opinions count.  It is tremendously encouraging for someone to know that they are being listened to and have been heard. 

In addition, we communicate something about ourselves. We demonstrate patience, as we wait for the person to finish what they are saying, and we say loud and clear that ours isn’t the only voice we want to hear. 

Sometimes, especially when someone is going through a difficult trial or has been bereaved, the best thing we can do is say nothing at all, and just listen. There are no glib answers in these circumstances, so just support the person by being there for them, allowing them the time and space to offload their feelings, and show them that you care and love them, by listening. 

Father, please help me to be a good listener, so that I might be a blessing to others.

Study by Barry Robinson


barryrobinsonAbout the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder in and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God London
Indian YMCA Student Hostel
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square

Meeting time:
Saturday 2:30pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Martin Ryan
Phone:  020 8202 3998
Email:   martin_ryan@wcg.org.uk

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One Response to “27th January 2014”

  1. John Magowan on January 27th, 2014 9:58 am

    Excellent article on the matter of being a good listener. It’s a lost art today, and something that needs to be learned. Thank you Barry for a very good contribution this morning.

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