Living in the Abundance of Christ, Making a Home

Listen More Than You Speak

“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

I’ve discovered, over the last few years, that I am a terrible multitasker. I cannot do a bunch of things at one time and expect to do them well. I can do a bunch of things poorly, or I can do one thing well at a time. That’s just how I’m made. So, living in the 21st century brings about many unique challenges thanks to technology. We have so much information at our fingertips, that for many of us (for me), we can be on our laptop (with multiple tabs open), while watching t.v., with our phone sitting next to us, and our family all around.

I don’t know about you, but I’m capable of having whole conversations, while engrossed in something else that I’m doing, and moments or minutes later I will not recall what the other person said, or even what I said in that conversation.

Remember how I said I can only do one thing well at a time? This includes listening. I cannot listen effectively (or at all) when I’m doing something else. So, I have to make a point to stop whatever else I may be doing, or tell whoever might want to say something to me, to hold on for just a moment until I can give them my full attention, so that I might actually hear what they have to say. I’ve thought of 3 personal reasons that I sometimes don’t listen. These might be different for you.

  1. I’m more interested in expressing my opinion than listening.
  2. I’m too preoccupied with my own concerns to listen.
  3. I do not care to hear what the speaker has to say.

As you can see, these are all selfish reasons for not listening. And even when I am legitimately busy, I can still make time to listen to someone who needs an ear to hear. Proverbs says quite a bit about listening and speaking, so I thought I would share a few verses that counter my 3 reasons for not listening.

  1. “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13
  2. “Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.” Proverbs 19:27
  3. “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Proverbs 18: 15

Listening more than I speak is an area that, although I’ve improved (I think), I continue to work on and be aware of. What are some of the reasons that you have a hard time listening to other people? What are some things you can do to be a better listener?

“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” Proverbs 17:28

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