By: Stephen Vaughn
James 1:19 (NIV) – “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”
Unlike giving profound advice, listening is out of style. But, it should be a defining characteristic of every Christian’s life.
Here are a few reasons why.
It protects us from sinning verbally. Proverbs 10:19 says “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” Being in a hurry to listen will save us unnecessary and unpleasant results from spouting off.
It protects us from giving bad advice. Have you ever weighed how much power your advice has? Anytime someone comes to you asking for your help (which is hopefully biblical help), you have an enormous opportunity to steer someone in a beneficial or destructive heading. Make sure you have complete knowledge of their problem, and don’t try to come up with something profound for the sake of answering. Be okay with saying, “I don’t know” and helping that person seek a wiser source of counsel.
It builds relationships. As I’ve stated many times before in my posts, listening well is a sign of how much (or how little) you care. It demonstrates selfless love or a lack of compassion. We should be serving others well by listening intentionally.
It’s Christ-like. I encourage you to read any one of gospels while focusing on Jesus’ social interactions. Observe the way He listened before speaking, and responded based on what He heard. If we want to love people the way Christ did, we have to embody these characteristics.
I encourage you to be quick to listen in your conversations. God will be honored, and your sharer will feel loved and important.