Have you ever waited for a pause in the conversation so you can insert your own thought or opinion? I'm ashamed to answer, "I have." Real listening cannot happen when we have an agenda. We cannot listen when we presume to have a solution before the problem has even been explored. I get extremely frustrated when doctors treat me this way. Yet, if I'm honest with myself, I do this reflexive kind of listening more often than not. Reflexive listening is simply jumping at your chance to insert something into the conversation.
Research shows that doctors begin to diagnose a patient within three minutes of entering the room. No wonder we have thousands upon thousands of patient getting sicker and dying from iatrogenic illnesses. Iatrogenic is a fancy word for, the doctor made a big mistake. Could it be these doctors make fatal errors because they never really listen to the description of their patients symptoms?
Jesus repeatedly says throughout his ministry, "He who has ears, let him hear." We all have ears, so how do we "let them hear?" Jesus wants us to use our ears intelligently by training them to listen in a reflective way instead of the common reflexive way. Reflective listening occurs when we pause and consider what has been said and are able to repeat it back accurately to the speaker. This is a great way to improve our communication skills with not only people, but when we talk with God while reading his word. Just think about how are understanding would improve if we would hold back from inserting what’s rattling around in our brain and reflect on what is being said or as God speaks, what he has written.
Dear Jesus, Please teach me how to break away from the way most of us listen and begin to reflectively hear what you and your people have to say. In your precious name I pray. Amen.
photo courtesy of flickr.com by McAzadi