Are you a good listener? I’m afraid that most of us are not good listeners. Good talkers, maybe, but not good listeners. When we pray, do we do all the talking? Or do we wait in silence for God to speak to us? He speaks in many ways to the listening heart. I will never forget when God spoke so clearly to me, “Read Mark 6”. Just three words- but they changed my life. They led to the first healing of my ministry, and helped me see that God indeed does heal today. Some of the very first words of the Bible show that we have a speaking God. Note the repetitious “And God said” in the first chapter of Genesis. I guess he wants us to know that he is a speaking God! And what about when you are conversing with others? Do you listen as much as you talk? And when you listen, do you really listen to the other? Or is the silence simply the dead space between conversations? Are you quiet so you think of what to say next? Then you are not really listening. Every Christian is to be a counselor, and the first law of counseling is “listen”. If the silence is uncomfortable, better to have a few moments of uncomfortable silence than to fill every moment with talk. When you really, really listen to another you are showing them love in one of the most significant ways. You are saying, “you really count, you are a worthwhile person.” And it is when you have listened to God that you are most able to listen to the other. As Adam McHugh dramatically put it in “The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distractions” (Intervarsity Press) -God’s word comes most often in the still small voice that “creeps up on us like a heartbeat in the dark”. So be a good listener. If you have first listened to God-whether by an inward impression, an audible voice, or in the Bible-you can listen therapeutically to troubled souls, and help move them to the kingdom of God.
Dr. Richard L. Shaw Ph.D., Pastor