Listen – Give attention with the ear to some sound or utterance or to hear attentively and understand a person speaking; make an effort to hear something.
It is hard for me to imagine what the world would be like if we would truly listen to one another. Often the concept about the word listen is one we were taught as children. It is,” Listen to me. That means do what I tell you, because I am always right. I believe that Steven Covey has that concept in mind when he said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Because of our conditioning we are always ready to defend ourselves, because if we really listened we might change. All of us have some resentment bottled up on the inside that roots back to those “listen” days.
Let us capture the true meaning of “listen” which will allow us to hear the words of those we encounter. The art of listening is not obedience but becoming fully aware of the world around us. We then see people as they really are and understand their feelings and natures. We hear the cry of the needy and learn from the wise. Our lives are deeply enriched when we begin to listen.
Just imagine what would happened if you listened to every word that was uttered to you. Suddenly you would discover the heart of the people that you interact with daily. They would become much more alive to you. Their stories would be a part of your story, and I would expect that your story would become a part of theirs. To listen is the giving of the heart. Hearing the words of others is the greatest gift that you have to give.
How do you learn to listen? I believe it begins when we fully believe that everyone is created in the image of God. After we climb that hill, we are ready to hear with the ears of our hearts the messages of their hearts that they are trying to relate to the world. In a less mystical way, I would suggest three things. The first is eye contact. Look at the person that is speaking to you in the eye. The second is to always give a slight pause or take a breath before you reply to the other person. This pause will give you time to digest what was said and make that person feel you are listening. The third is to try to feel what the speaker is feeling. That is called empathy, and for some people this is very difficult. I believe that, even if you are not naturally empathetic, it is a skill you can develop if you take time to truly listen to those that come your way.
When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
― Ernest Hemingway
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
― Stephen R. Covey
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
― Leo Buscaglia
If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.
― Brené Brown
We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.
― Zeno of Citium
Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.
― Bernard M. Baruch
It takes a great man to be a good listener.
― Calvin Coolidge
There’s a lot of difference between listening and hearing.
― G. K. Chesterton
You’re short on ears and long on mouth.
― John Wayne
The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.
― Alfred Brendel
You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.
― M. Scott Peck
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
~~~Proverbs 12:15 ESV
If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
~~~Proverbs 18:13 ESV
Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
~~~Proverbs 19:27 ESV
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
~~~Proverbs 18:2 ESV
Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;
~~~Proverbs 2:2 ESV
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
~~~Proverbs 17:28 ESV
My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge. For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; …
~~~Proverbs 5:1-23 ESV
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
~~~Proverbs 21:23 ESV
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
~~~Proverbs 19:20 ESV
Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
~~~Proverbs 25:12 ESV
Lord, Give me listening ears that hear what you are trying to tell me. Give me listening ears when you send your messengers my way. Give me listening ears when someone in need comes to me. Give me listening ears even when I want to be the center of attention. I know that the more I listen, the more I grow.