Sunday, April 8, 2018

Lend your ear

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
 
Many of us have to work at being an active listener. Passive listening is like listening to music in the background. Active listening is like listening to music with headphones on.  
 
James challenged his community of believers to talk less, listen more and not harbor an angry attitude. Perhaps he had witnessed unhealthy interactions between those who should be treating each other with the upmost respect. James addressed his household of faith/community as brothers and sisters. This family of faith needed to raise the quality of their conversations. The better we get to know one another, the better we should be at anticipating one another’s needs. Passive listening easily misunderstands, but active listening gains insight. God blesses a heart that really wants to hear.
 
Who deserves your undivided attention? How can you show them that you really know them? If you want to engage in active listening consider statements like, “You seem overwhelmed right now. I feel a lot of pressure as well, but I want us to support each other the best we can. How can I help you?” If someone expresses an uncommon complaint, repeat back to them the essence of their words. It shows you care and are listening.  
 
Most of all, daily go to our Lord to actively listen to His heart. What Christ says is the most vital communication we have all day. Thus, we start the day listening for divine direction and instruction so we avoid pitfalls and unproductive paths. A heart that first listens to heaven’s heart is the most effective in engaging hearts on earth, and in ministry. When we actively listen to the Lord, His Spirit removes our selfish pride and replaces it with selfless humility. Our active listening works best when we’ve been with Jesus. Now lend others your ear, just like the Lord continually lends His ear to our prayers.
 
Our Prayer: Lord, through the power and work of Your Spirit give us a heart that listens actively to Your heart and to the heart of others. Amen.