Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger James 1:19 (NLT) You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”
Friend to Friend
Millions of Americans refused to post on social media that day. And chose instead to spend the day listening
Listening matters! Why? Because nobody believes you love them until you first listen to them.
We all know the consequences of driving too fast or too slowly. Both can be dangerous. I have never been accused of driving too slowly. (I don’t drive fast. I drive quickly.) But I often find myself listening too slow.
James 1:19 gives us great direction about the speed of listening. It tells us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. My problem is that I am wired the opposite way. I tend to be slow to listen, quick to speak and quick to anger. Yikes!
There are three ways we can become better listeners. We listen better when we listen for pain, listen for needs, and listen for dreams. Today we look at listening for pain.
How does God listen to us? Psalm 10:17 tells us that he listens to our troubles, our cries, our pain. And He wants to teach us to listen the same way to others.
Jesus listens to our pains. We need to do the same if we are going to bless others.
The person of peace on our block is an 85 years old man named Jim. He has more friends and more influence than anyone else in our neighborhood. And the reason he has that influence is because he knows how to listen for pain. He really cares about people – and it shows in how he listens. He listens for pain because he lives to help people deal with their hurt.
Sometimes the best encouragement we can offer someone in pain is a listening heart. The old saying is that “All God’s children got trouble.” That is so true. But not all of God’s children have a heart to listen for the trouble of others.
Listening doesn’t require that we fix anything Listening doesn’t require that we offer a solution. Listening does require that we listen for the pain of our friends.
My husband Dan is a fixer. When I tell him about my pain, hurt or trouble, he jumps in to fix it mode. I have told him a hundred times “I don’t need you to fix this – I just need you to listen to me.” He is beginning to get it. (After 44 years of marriage.)
We all need to get it. Listening says “I’m here for you in your pain.” Listening says “I want to understand your pain.” Listening says “I’m willing to share your pain.”
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Everyone you meet has pain somewhere in their soul. You will never know their pain unless you are willing to listen.
Father, You are always ready to listen to me. And You pay particular attention to my pain, my cries, my trouble. Would You please give me that same sensitivity to those around me? Help me learn to listen for the pain of others. Help me care about the pain of others. Help me understand the pain of others.
In Christ I pray for a listening hear,
Now It’s Your Turn
As you have read these words today, chances are God has already brought someone to your mind that you know is in pain and needs someone to listen. Decide today to be that person who listens. Call them, text them, e-mail them about getting together. And when you do get together, remember to listen for their pain.
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