The Lost Art of Listening

Friends talking & listening

Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.Proverbs 10:19

We live in a world that won’t stop talking. We have 24-hour news stations. We can watch video after video on YouTube. Radio talk shows want listeners to call in or tweet their opinions on certain stories. Our society encourages constant communication.

In light of Proverbs 10:19, I have to wonder if God is pleased with all this talk. In the 21st century, communication is faster and farther reaching than it has ever been — and yet it is so much harder. We are constantly bombarded with talk. But is anyone really listening?

When we are constantly talking, we are not connecting. And God is all about connecting. Connection comes from listening to understand.

As an introvert, I’ve tried to fit in more with our extroverted society. I’ve tried to say more. I’ve tried to be louder. But it wears me out. After many years of questioning God’s motives for making me this way, I’ve come to the conclusion that He did not make a mistake when he gave me a quieter spirit. He gifted me with a temperament that’s drawn towards reflection and listening. I’ve come to believe that attentive silence is one of the most valuable skills a person can possess, as I’ve experienced the difference it has made in my relationships. Therefore, I’ve chosen to hone that skill in my life.

James tells us in the New Testament to be “slow to speak” and “quick to listen” (James 1:19). Practice the habit of listening.

Lord, I live in a world full of people who desperately want to be heard. Help me be a better listener to You and to the people around me. Amen.

By Debbie West

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