Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why We Should Learn to Listen

Sometimes, right in the middle of a conversation with someone, I get bored. When I get bored listening to someone, I'm not doing a great job loving them.

Whether we're bored, distracted, or frankly just don't care about what they're telling us; not listening is not loving. While when we learn to listen, we learn to love.

When I have conversations, I want to really have conversations, not just say empty words while my mind is elsewhere. While nodding and saying, "uh-huh," my mind will often be reviewing my to-do list, trying to come up with something clever to say when it's my turn to talk, or thinking about how hungry I am. When the speaker stops talking, I know very little of what they just told me. 

I recently spent two weeks with this remarkable girl named Cindy. (the pretty Mexican pictured above). Cindy's doing things like rescuing kids from human trafficking in Thailand, drinking good coffee, and being a really good friend. I feel lucky to know Cindy. 

Cindy's listening skills blow me away. I spent two weeks watching her talk to people--my people. She didn't even know most of them. But she made eye contact, she asked thoughtful questions, she cared about their answers, she was fully present in each conversation she entered; all with a gentle demeanor that made all my people feel like they could trust her.  

 I want to be a Cindy-kind-of-listener; 100% present in the conversation, 100% loving the person talking.

That's the kind of listener Jesus is. 

He said the second most important thing in all of life is this;
to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). 

To love my neighbor, I must learn to listen to my neighbor. I need to care about what they have to say. My Maker counts their words as valuable; I want to do the same!

God, help me learn to listen, 
help me learn to love.