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"My dear brothers, take note of this: everyone one should be quick to listen, slow to speak..." (James 1:19)
"I'm sorry, what did you say again?"
That question probably grates on your nerves, especially when you feel like you expressed yourself clearly.
Everyone loves to be heard. Hopefully we all have in our lives at least one person that listens...I mean really listens to us. A person who not only hears what we're saying, but they also know how to read in between the lines. If you don't know someone like this, you probably long to know someone who listens well.
God wants us to not only know someone like that, he wants us to be someone like that. "Be quick to listen, slow to speak" is not just a nice idea- it's a command (y'know- like, not an option?)
So let me give you a "quick to listen, slow to speak" test:
When someone is talking to you do you...
- ...listen to them with full concentration?
- ...listen well at first be get easily distracted mentally?
- ...find yourself planning your response before they are done talking?
- ...completely miss what they said in the first place?
In conversations do you tend to...
- ...wait until the person speaking is totally finished?
- ...cut them off at the soonest possible natural break in the conservation?
- ...overpower the conversation right off the bat?
- ...tell them to shut up until you say so?
When communicating with another person do you...
- ...ask questions to get a clear picture of what the other person is saying?
- ...listen well until you're bored?
- ...start talking about yourself or your view point as soon as possible?
- ...fall asleep in the middle of the conversation?
1 = Good Listener
3 = Adequate Listener
3 = Lousy Listener
4 = Seek professional help
Following this command is not only important in relationships, it is also very key when it comes to evangelism. Put simply, if you learn to listen well you will be a godly magnet to others. Your classmates will find themselves gravitating toward you. They'll start "opening up" and begin sharing with you some of their greatest dreams and deepest hurts. Opportunities to share the gospel abound with those who learn to listen.
Most of us are not natural listeners. We love to talk. Whether it be telling stories, sharing biblical insight, or just giving our personal opinions our expertise is typically speaking and not listening. One of the things that has helped me is learning how to rephrase what has been said, or ask questions of the person speaking. I continue doing this until they feel that I understand them. I have had to force myself to "be quick to listen, slow to speak..."
You can improve as well. As you do, you'll become a better friend and more effective in sharing your faith. When people feel understood, they feel validated and encouraged. Many times when they reach that point, God will open the door for them to hear the gospel from you.
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Over 1,400 of these resources are provided completely FREE! D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991.
P.O. Box 745323
Arvada, CO 80006
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