True Listener Verses a Hearer – Stuart Segall
Can you stop for a moment and ponder this?
This is HUGE stuff! This is game and life-changing. If you could pull over to the side of the road and take a look, a deep look within at this statement above, it might be that defining moment.
Your health, finances and relational issues are all impacted by this understanding or lack of it. You might intellectually understand it but your default mechanism kicks in minutes after you pull back onto the highway of life and it is business as usual.
I have spent my career listening to people. When you do it all day, 5-7 days a week you learn to watch the eyes and facial expressions to see if the person is hearing you. If they are, are they listening?
How will I know if they are? Usually, I will summarize and ask questions gently about what they heard to determine that. When the reverse is happening, I will often repeat what I heard so the person knows I have. If I am wrong, they will clarify and then understanding begins.
There is a strong proclivity, especially among men, to just wait you out, not hearing what you said. If you have a man in your life that listens to understand, whether he agrees with you or not, but really tries to walk in your shoes, you have a wonderful and rare find.
It is not only men; women can be that way too. However, they really do tend to be better listeners without over-broad-brushing. I try to guide people to listen to themselves and understand their own thoughts objectively if they want to try to understand others better.
“Did you truly hear and listen to what was just said, or did you react to it?”
We want to be known as followers of Christ and to be responders, not a reactor. That requires understanding what this is all about. If we are to walk in His footsteps, listening to understand His disciplines is essential.
We often express as believers that we must give the gift of our time, whether it be as the good Samaritan or just in everyday life. I challenge you though to take it one notch higher. When you give the gift of time, make sure you are doing it in a way that you listened, not just waited someone else out.
Please note that no one is asking you to necessarily agree with the person you are listening to, but you are understanding them whether you agree fully or not. That is the gift!
If we think about this, you can have one of two outcomes. You can pass, and opportunity passes you by, or you can learn and grow, and then opportunity and breakthroughs can invite you on to the ballroom floor to dance with you.
Stuart Segall lives about an hour north of Seattle. He has spent most of his adult life counseling, encouraging, inspiring and uplifting others.