Be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all of these]. Luke 6:36 (Amplified)
I wish I were a better listener. In college and seminary I had a myriad of counseling courses and I aced them all. Great grades in listening—in a classroom situation—at home, not so much. For example, a few months ago my son called and asked to come to dinner that night. That was a little out-of-character for him, but, of course, I was delighted to be in his company. After dinner, he wanted to share something at work that had him greatly distressed. His job is high-pressure and I often worry about his blood pressure. So I did what any good mom would do, I tried to problem solve. I asked, “Have you tried this? What about this approach?” I offered many solutions that seemed to fall on deaf ears. Finally, in exasperation, he exclaimed, “I just wanted you to listen.” I had failed Mothering 101.
What about you? Are you a good listener? Do you take time to hear the pains and hurts of your loved ones, friends, or co-workers? Some of us avoid upset people at all costs. Others listen with one ear and surf the internet at the same time. Or, some listen and become so upset themselves that you have to console them. Finally, many of us listen and become judgmental in our hearts. This listening is difficult to master in real-life situations. In my mind, I imagine that Jesus is the best listener of all. When I speak with Him, I know that I have His full attention. He isn’t looking around trying to get away—just doesn’t fit with my Savior’s character. And He doesn’t judge or condemn. From Jesus, I learn the greatest gift I can offer another is the gift of acceptance. I don’t like to be told what to do, so I going to practice not giving unsolicited advice. This course in listening is hard, but with Jesus as my teacher I slowly learning. Are you going to enroll in this course in listening? There’s room in this classroom for more students.
Shutting my mouth and opening my ears, Linda