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“To listen is the queen of compliments; to ignore, the chief of insults!”  Everyone needs listeners in their life and everyone needs to learn to listen.

The other night I sat at the kitchen table with my wife.  She was speaking to me about something that is very important to both of us but I didn’t hear.  I was busy on my laptop preparing for what was in store for me the next day.  I looked up, suddenly realizing I had hurt her.  Not by anything I said, but by failing to be attentive and truly listen to what she was saying.  I had deeply hurt the person I love more than anyone…by failing to really listen.

Do you know how to listen?  Or do your eyes stray and betray your wandering interests?  A good listener always listens with his ears AND his eyes.  Do you let others’ words and ideas fly by while you plan your next comment, cooking up some sage word with which to stun them at the first opportunity?  Do you interrupt others or, even worse, second-guess them, trying to finish the line, or coach when they stumble for a word?  Do you probe, question, interrogate, cross-examine, and thus suggest impatience or superiority?

Or do you truly listen?  Can you go beyond merely hearing words and phrases to catch the ideas?  And beyond the ideas, to the feelings?  My sweetheart needed me to catch what she was feeling.  And the only way I could have done that is to have looked her in the eye and really listened with my heart.

Listening is not hard.  But it does require one’s focus and effort.  It is also worth the effort.  Good listening builds intimacy and trust in a relationship.  It says to the one to whom you are listening that they are important to you and worth your time. 

Learn to listen.  Practice when you are in conversation.  Be intentional about it.  Work at it.  Pay attention!  Listening is a warm expression of your love to another!

 (Part of the above is taken from The Freedom of Forgiveness, by David Augsburger)

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One Comment

    • Mike&DeeAnn Hoffman
    • Posted February 10, 2010 at 9:31 pm
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    We heartily agree!


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