The Art of Good Listening

Intently locked into what she was doing, she didn’t hear me when I spoke to her.


In the days before DVD’s, my daughter was still a distracted listener. A “Barney the Purple Dinosaur” VCR tape was a convenient way to keep her occupied while I did other things. I was able to get some work accomplished, and she was watching material with honorable values. Trouble was, when the time came for her to listen to me she didn’t hear me when I called. The purple dinosaur had captured so much of her attention that she didn’t hear a more important voice. 


Being a good listener isn’t as simple as it might appear, and choosing the proper sources to listen too is significantly harder. Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. (James 1:19 NLT)


If I listen halfheartedly to what someone is saying to me, I’m a careless listener. Perhaps I’m more concerned about what I’m craving to say when they give me a chance. I perceive my input as more important than theirs.


Letting things around me lure my attention when someone is talking to me makes me a distracted listener. One of the keys to successful hearing is looking people in the eyes.


Listening to sources that give information contradicting God’s Word makes me a deceived listener


But if I listen to what God speaks in his Word—and to what others who base their information on his Word say, then I’m a careful listener. Carefully listening to what others share gives me the privilege of entering into their world by offering my assistance. Carefully listening to God prompts me to surrender to his instructions and thereby creates a rewarding life.


What kind of listener are you?


Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us the skills and desire to be good listeners when You and others speak to us.