The Importance Of Listening

From Gary Henry: “Peter Drucker once said, ‘The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.' Hearing what "isn't being said" is not an impossibility; it occurs when we wisely and sympathetically listen with our hearts as well as our ears. As Jeremy Taylor put it, "It is not the eye that sees the beauty of the heaven, nor the ear that hears the sweetness of music, but the soul." If all we hear are the sounds that enter our physical ears, we will miss many of the most important messages in life. And this is true even within us. It takes skillful listening to hear what our own hearts are saying.’”

Is this true? Isn’t it true we all desire to be heard? When we feel no one is listening, why try to communicate? We must not equate listening to agreement or compliance. That is, just because what we said or asked was not agreed to, does not mean one was not heard. Just because there was no compliance does not mean one was not heard.

We do this with God. God promised to hear our prayers (1 John. 5:14-15). He did not promise to grant our every wish or request. Yet, how many times do we pray and then when we do not get the answer we wanted, we accuse God of not listening. Our role is to ask. It is God’s role to do as He pleases, and He knows best. Too often we equate the affirmative answer as God listening. Also, the opposite is true. Because we did not get our “Yes,” God must not have been listening. No, we ask. God answers as He knows best. He knows more than we do.  He answers according to His will. Which means, He is in control.

Further, the same scenario is true of brethren and elders. It is not at all unusual for brethren to talk to elders and then say, “They did not listen to me.”  No, they listened but they just did not agree with what was said or did not think best what was requested. Neither of those mean they did not listen.

The same happens with children with parents. How often do children say, “My parents never listen to me.” Which means they did not say “Yes” when we wanted them to say “Yes.” Is it possible that the parents know something the child does not know, and that little bit of knowledge influenced their answer?

See, when we ask, we only see from our perspective. The one listening often has a much broader perspective. Having said that, if we are the one’s listening, we need to listen. Listen to what is being said. We must not listen with our minds already made up.

Everyone wants to be heard. As the listener, our responsibility is to make sure we listen. Having asked, our responsibility is to leave the answer to the one who listens.

Rickie Jenkins