Field Stone Cottage Blog

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thoughts on Good Listeners

A few days ago, I posted about the sermon we heard at Emily's church in Ann Arbor, MI. The substance of that message (at least to me), drawn from Genesis 16:7-16, is that God wants us to pour our hearts out to Him and that being a fully engaged listener to others honors Him. This message has kept my mind busy in contemplation ever since I heard it. Here are some of my thoughts on it:
  1. Having someone give you the kind of listening ear that Pastor Del Belcher speaks of in this sermon is a very rare thing. In fact, its impossible in our humanness without God's enabling.
  2. The gifts mentioned in His Word are not all there are (as, for example, there are so many, many ways to express love to others) but this one seems so incredibly important to me, although I know there is no hierarchy of importance among the gifts.
  3. But my heart aches for those in need of the benefits of this gift in others. I've been the one who needed the listening ear and had no one to listen to me. I've been the one who offered (in my imperfect way) that listening ear to others.
  4. The benefit of being able to pour your heart out to another and have them really listen is nothing short of healing.
  5. Maybe loneliness and a feeling of isolation is the biggest epidemic in our culture. And in our churches too.
  6. The opposite of this pandemic loneliness is a sense of community, even if that sense of community, of being loved and valued, is with only one other person. Ideally, especially in a church body, it should be with much more than that. It should be unity in the whole body of believers. Not unity of thought necessarily but a unity of underlying love for each other, the love of Christ.
  7. Good listening is only one expression of this underlying love. But I am praying that God enable me to exercise it in increasing measure.


Willow said...

I love this post. I absolutely agree with you about the healing power of just listening. I too have needed it and given it at different times in my life. Thanks for reminding me of this most important gift.

Dorothy said...

I am so pleased that this one ministered to you, Willow! The writing of it was so good for me too!

ellen b. said...

I'm generally of the quick to speak slow to listen variety so this was a good read for me. Listening is such a great thing to ask God and his Spirit to enable in me...