Lisa, Kelly, and Jane had been best friends since childhood. They did everything together and still get together a few times a week, although now it is for play dates for their kids instead of looking for dates. Lately though, Jane has been going through some personal struggles. While she still talks to Lisa, she has been avoiding Kelly. She loves both of her friends, but right now she needs support. Whenever she starts to talk around Kelly, Kelly takes over the conversation, "one upping" Jane's experience with one of her own, and offering advice from both sides of the spectrum. Sure, Kelly heard what Jane was saying, but she was not listening.
Raise your hand if you have ever been Jane's position. Keep it up if you have ever behaved like Kelly.
If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. (Proverbs 8:13, ESV)
How many times have you heard someone say "You have two ears and one mouth, use them accordingly!"? March is Listening Awareness Month, a good time to put that saying into practice. Kelly heard what Jane was saying, but she did not listen. The first rule of listening: shut up! You do not always need to have a response prepared. Listening is not simply hearing the words others are saying, but the emotions and meaning behind the words. A response is not always necessary.
"Whoever is of God hears the words of God.
The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (John 8:47, ESV)
The Lord God is always willing to listen to us, when we have had a bad day, a good day, experienced a tragedy, or experienced joy. Do you return the favor? Do you listen for Him?
This month make a conscious effort to listen more, and talk less! Listen for the Lord and what He is trying to tell you. Listen to your friends. Do not just hear what they are saying to respond, but really listen. Who knows? You might just learn something.