Monday, December 5, 2011

Learning to Listen

Listen to me, all you in distant lands!  Pay attention, you who are far away!  The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name. (Isaiah 49:1 NLT)

   Listening is a skill seldom sought or taught today.  We attempt to teach children and young people critical thinking, public speaking, and creative writing skills, but listening skills are not stressed.  

   As I look back over my parenting years, I recall many instances when I failed to be a good listener.  I was too preoccupied with instructing the kids on the virtues of right and wrong to listen attentively to their needs.  As a result, I lost the closeness that brings families closer together.  While my parenting ideals were satisfied; their needs were not satisfied.

   Jesus was a good listener.  He showed great patience in listening to the countless questions offered by his disciples, and often remained silent while accusations were thrown at him by religious leaders.  He sits on his throne today listening intently to our questions and cries for help.

   What does it take to be a good listener?  The answer can be found in James 1:19 which says, "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."  (NLT)  This is good advice for all of us to follow.

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