The Expository Files


"Quick To Hear"
Listening 101
James 1:19

In High School and again in College, I was enrolled in Speech courses. Educational Curriculums are based on the assumption that speaking is a learned skill. I do not recall any courses entitled, "Listening 101." Let listening is also a learned skill and clearly one half of the communication process. Here are a few simple observations we may overlook.

Don't Interrupt the Speaker. If we do not allow the speaker to complete his thoughts, we miss the complete message. It is rude. Beyond that, interruptions impede the communication process. Be patient. Simply wait until it is your turn to talk or respond (Prov. 15:2).

Listen to all the speaker says before forming your response. We may be tempted to listen a little, then pretend to continue listening - when we are really already beginning to form our response, defense or answer. We miss the last part of the message, out of our impulsive anxiety to frame our answer. In our haste to answer, we may miss something we need to hear (Prov. 25:12).

Stephen R. Covey describes something he calls "the fifth level, the highest form of listening - empathic listening." It is "listening with intent to understand, to get inside the other person's frame of reference, seeking to understand them emotionally as well as intellectually."

Have you heard this? God has given man one tongue but two ears that we may hear twice as much as we speak.


By Warren E. Berkley
The Final Page
From Expository Files 13.10; October