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It is said that God gave us two ears and one mouth because He knew listening would be twice as difficult as talking.
The fact is, we all tend to be a bit selfish and childish in our communications at times. Right or wrong, we often talk (about ourselves) more than we listen (to others). We expect to be heard, understood, respected and accepted when we speak. We also want to be instantly forgiven for our ill chosen words Â€and still be loved unconditionally. At the same time, we often have false expectations that others will know exactly what we meanÂ€...and are disappointed when they do not.
I dont even pretend to fully understand the total mind of our heavenly Father when He created man in His image.
However, God is the most profoundly wonderful communicator. He, who spoke the world into existence, is now and always has been the personification of an exceptional listener. So, with His divine guidance, our communication skills can be in His image.
Gods Word teaches us to be stillÂ€...and to not speak unnecessary words.
However, at times, we are so tightly focused on our own needs that we forget there is an equally vulnerable heart and questioning mind needing to be nurtured on the other side of the conversation. Instead of engaging in true fellowship; actively sending and receiving information in the manner it was intended, our communications easily become a self-indulgent monologue, coupled with destructive immaturity.
Though we live in a world filled with endless chatter, within each of us is the need for a listener in the midst of the chaos. Somene who will honor and respect our heartfelt emotions. And, someone, in His image, who will continue listening when they hear us and see us for who we really are, not who we want them to think we are. Someone who will listen and not turn away.
So,Â€ how do we come closer to having true fellowship and develop more mature communication skills?
Clearly, we must each find a balance between speaking our mind and listening with our heart. God, in His divine wisdom, gave us two ears and one mouth. Therefore, we must begin, not by talkingÂ€...but by listening...Â€with one ear finely tuned to the direction of the Holy Spirit for discernment and wisdom, and the other intent on listening to those with whom we are communicating.
Interestingly, most of us listen and think at about 400 to 600 words per minute, while we speak about 100 to 150 words per minute.
God purposefully created us to have plenty of time to listen with our whole head, heart and body; not just just our ears. He designed us with a capacity to understand what is being said, coupled with a built in time lag that allows us to check everything with the Holy SpiritÂ€and develop our answers, or clarifying questions. We just need to learn to use these abilities in the manner He intended.
Listening can be a difficult Â€Â“ but rewarding work!
We listen to show acceptance, to gain knowledge, to understand, to give and gain trust, to reassure, to support, and to react to ideas. Let us all pray that God, through His Holy Spirit, and in the name of His Son, Jesus, will give us the desire and patience to listen more. Active listening is not just a learned skill. It is a matter of purposeful attitude.
Our parents were right when they told us it was very important to look at the other person when we speak, or are spoken to. Ignoring or looking away, sends a message of disinterest, or disrespect, and maybe even defiance. Speak encouragement into the lives of those around you by choosing words that promote their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health, healing and well being.
Everyone needs a listener.
However, so many of our conversations are like rapid-fire debates, with people listening only long enough to disprove what is being said. Take time to listen. Others will respond in more positive ways to our communications when we listen with a heartfelt desire to truly understand them.
Always rememberÂ€...words that wound cut deepÂ€...and may never heal.
When you have differences of opinion, decide just how important it is to Â€Â˜win this one. The Bible reminds us to not let the sun go down on our anger. So, talk it throughÂ€...being gentle with your self, and others. Always seek to find mutual points of agreement, instead of focusing on that small false victory of being right.
Prayer, although one of the most important aspects of Christian communication Â€is so often the most overlooked.
A commitment to daily prayer and spiritual accountability maintains our open lines of communication with God. There are two sides to every conversation... even with God. The more we talk with Him...and truly listen to His responses...the more His Word and His heart will be present in our communications with our self and with others.
God gave us His Son Jesus Christ...that we may have a relationship with Him.
Then, Jesus sent the Comforter...the Holy Spirit...to give us guidance and direction. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are available to us 24/7. We can call on Them to teach us divinely inspired communication skills. When we listen, truly listen, we give others a priceless gift that will cost us only our time and attention; while giving us the blessed opportunity to be God with skin on for His children.