Be a good listener

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. Proverbs 20:5 (NIV).

Our thoughts can’t be turned on and off like a tap. If you want to understand yourself and others you need to know that the thoughts in our hearts are accessed in much the same way as we’d draw water from a well.

As we know, water doesn’t come out of a well as quickly and easily as getting water out of a tap. People just don’t open up. You can’t sit down with someone and simply say, “Let’s talk.” First you’ve got to make yourself available – to “hang out.” Then you’ve got to build trust over the course of time. When the relationship is formed you’ve then got to exercise patience by waiting until the person is ready to open up. Finally, in much the same way as you’d carefully draw a bucket from the depths of the well, you must cautiously draw out the conversation by being a good listener, asking sensitive questions, and giving measured advice.

Deep meaningful connections with people, the type that get beyond frivolous relationships, require good listening. Did you hear that? Let’s remember that God gave us two ears and only one mouth because listening is more important that speaking. So don’t interrupt and don’t  jump to conclusions. To have insight and understanding you need to listen on several levels – to learn to hear, really hear, what’s being said.

Will you do that? For God’s Word says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” James 1:19.

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