“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
– Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the fellowship is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear. So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him…There is a kind of listening with half an ear that presumes already to know what the other person has to say. It is an impatient, inattentive listening, that despises the brother and is only waiting for a chance to speak and thus get rid of the other person.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
The church is the community of love and the community of the dying. We are the community of love because we are the community of the dying: we are learning to die to ourselves, which means we are learning to love. May our church and our comGroup gatherings therefore be spaces where we “really, really listen” to one another as those who are dying, for that is the only way we will ever truly love one another. Leadership begins with listening,1 not speaking. Mission begins with open minds, not open mouths. Love is patient.2 Patience listens.
Faith begins with listening,3 and faith looks like love.4 That’s all that counts. Before it means anything else, pursuing the Jesus life means learning to shut up and listen. Why not begin by practicing the spiritual discipline of silence sometime this week?5
- “Leadership begins with listening” is a direct quote from Todd Bolsinger
- 1 Corinthians 13:4
- Romans 10:17
- Galatians 5:6
- Spiritual disciplines are practices that Jesus has given to help grow us into the image of God, who is love. They are exercises that help us develop the strength to love others, even enemies, as he does. So listening, for instance, takes tremendous strength and therefore a great deal of practice!