Are You a Good Listener?

Are You a Good Listener?

“Take heed how you hear.” Lk 8:18 NKJV

To be a good listener you must: (1) Listen in an active manner. Pay attention. Nobody wants to talk to a corpse, so do these three things: paraphrase, clarify, and give feedback. Paraphrasing helps you understand correctly. Clarifying is asking questions until you fully understand what the other person means. Feedback is sharing your own thoughts and feelings in a nonjudgmental way. (2) Listen with empathy. You may not like what’s being said, but often as you listen, you realize that if you were in their shoes you might feel that way too. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Ro12:15 NKJV). That’s what empathy is all about. (3) Listen with openness. Selective listening, defensive listening, and filtered listening, are not open listening. Listen as though you were an anthropologist and the person was from another planet; their customs, beliefs and way of thinking are different from yours, and you’re trying to understand them. (4) Listen with awareness. Does what they are saying line up with the facts? Are they consistent? If you’ve listened actively, empathetically and openly, and still you don’t understand their point of view, you don’t have to attack. Wait, gather more information! Ask, “Could you tell me a bit more?” or “Could you give me a specific example?” Or you might say, “Thank you for letting me know your perspective. I’ll think about it.” Or, “That’s interesting, I hadn’t considered it in that light.” Or, “What you’re saying may have some truth to it. Tell me more.” Jesus listened. And the art of listening is a Christ-like skill you must develop!

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