“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for our brothers and sisters is learning to listen to them”-Dietrich Bonhoeffer-Life together
How many of us listen to each other? Really listen. We might hear what someone else is saying to us, but do we hear them, or do we think we know what they said?
Most of us will hear 3 – 4 words of someone speaking to us and then start formulating what we are going to say. We will hear where a sentence starts and then begin working on our come back, what we will respond with. In doing this, you are no longer listening, but are paying attention to yourself. This is one of the first things I work on with couples that I am working through premarital counseling with. Communication is the basis for every relationship, and if you are not communicating there is no basis for that relationship. This is why we pray, to communicate with God. Part of this should be silence to listen for what God has to say to us. We need to listen not only to get to know the other person, but we need to listen, because that is what we have to do in order to communicate. In order to know how we need to respond we have to listen, and hear what is said to us. Then and only then can we respond with a response that is one that will build the relationship. It may not always be what the other person wants to hear, but it will build the relationship if it is spoken in truth and love after listening and hearing what was said. If we listen and hear, then we will get to know more about the person and grow deeper in relation to them.
That is what Bonhoeffer tells us in the quote above. We owe it to others to listen to them. We need to hear them and to love them by being quiet and not formulating a response while they are talking. To hear them as we hear His word.
So the next time you are listening, listen and hear. Grow in relation to others.