Resources

← Return to Articles

Lord, Give Us A Listening Heart

04.23.19 | Listening | by Janet Cabascango

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:

    “The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear. So it is His work that we do for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them…Christians so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forgot that listening can be a greater service than speaking. “

     Listening is one of the most fruitful ways to help someone, but it is also among the most underused skills. I came across a helpful article by Kyle Blevins entitled, “8 Ways Listening Can be a Ministry.” Here are some of the highlights:

     Listening makes people feel important.

    1. Listening offers acceptance. Listening intently has a goal of understanding. It tells people “I want to understand you more, because I care.”
    2. Listening makes everyone look deeper. Once people feel important and accepted, they tend to explore their hearts more in depth.
    3. Listening promotes humility. Our pride breaks as we take our “fixing” hat off and just open our hearts.
    4. Listening restores hope. The act of listening can unlock a big perspective on life.
    5. Listening brings healing. Once someone feels truly listened to they feel accepted and that you can be trusted. As a result, people dig deeper and reveal more and more to the light. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
    6. Listening multiples love. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” Then in Luke 6:38, Jesus says, “Give and it will be given to you.” So we receive from above, then we pass it on.
    7. Listening reveals Jesus. Above all, Jesus is showed in the act of listening. Jesus put others before Himself, as He showed on the cross. In John 15:13, Jesus teaches us, “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”

     (To read the complete article, visit: https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/8-ways-listening-can-be-a-ministry.html)

     Reflection: Do I listen with my heart … or only my ears to those who are hurting? Do I believe listening in itself can be a ministry of caring?

     Prayer of Response:

    • So many people in our everyday lives need to express their joys, sorrows, anxieties, and hopes…
      Lord, grant us a listening heart.
    • Your Scripture, Lord, contains the words of Eternal Life…
      Lord, grant us a listening heart.
    • You speak, Lord, in the cries of the lonely, the poor, the suffering…
      Lord, grant us a listening heart.
    • You also speak, Lord, in the deepest parts of our beings…
      Lord, grant us a listening heart.

     IN TOUCH, Vol X, No. 2, November,1987