16 July 2014

Getting Better At Listening - part two

A good listener strives to develop empathy for the other person (Romans 12:15). It's more than just sympathy; it's a genuine attempt to understand another's point of view. One author described as "seeing the world through another's eyes, as if it were your own, but without losing the 'as if'". Be objective.

We should not jump to conclusions (Proverbs 18:13) - take time to listen. Many people are reluctant to open up and so therefore good listeners take their time to listen; they have bucket-loads of patience.

It's also vital to keep a confidence, no matter how difficult it may be (Proverbs 11:13). There are some "exceptional circumstances" - where criminal activity is involved, or when someone may be in danger.

Some people reveal deep emotions through what they tell you. And that's okay - as long as it's not just an excuse to subject you to a stream of abuse about someone else.

Talking is good - and listening is a good way to find a way forward. Often a practical solution will quickly present itself naturally in the course of the conversation, usually from the person seeking help.

More to follow ...

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