Let's be honest. We all have been in conversations or even arguments where we were only listening to the extent that we could further press our points. Our main concern was to refute the other person's points while supporting our own. That is classic example of listening only with our ears.
Godly love has a way of affecting our total being and not just selective parts. For example, it is far fetched to think that we can be self-sacrificing but not be outward looking in our relationships. We may need to grow in certain areas, but we should not be totally lacking in specific traits of Godly love.
Listening with our hearts and not with our ears is one of those traits that should flow naturally from the other Godly traits. If we can put the needs of others first, it should be relatively easy to hear what they are saying with our hearts. If we are focused on serving those we love, it should not be a stretch for us to use our hearts instead of our ears to hear them.
What is listening with our hearts? It is hearing what others are communicating with the intention of helping them in some way. It is NOT hearing with the sole intention of furthering our own objectives.
How do we train ourselves to listen with our hearts and not with our ears?
- We must start off with a commitment to exhibiting Godly love. All of the traits of Godly love work in conjunction with each other and by growing in one trait, we should eventually grow in the other traits.
- Trust God to take of us while we go about the business of taking care of others. This frees us to listen with the genuine intention of helping those we are trying to relate to. The focus of our listening should be to discern what is beneficial to the other instead of trying to determine how we can further our selfish objectives.
- Instead of seeking talking points, we should seek out solutions to problems. Perhaps more importantly in our search for solutions, we should listen with our spiritual ears to hear what the Spirit is telling us.
- We must be willing to set our ego aside while we are listening and also while we are presenting possible solutions to the problems being discussed. If we are not careful, our ego will lean us toward the fulfillment of our wants and filter out possible solutions that do not feed our need for self-affirmation. In short, our ego will take our focus off the other person(s) and turn it back on us.
This discussion of listening with our hearts has focused on problems and their solutions. But this topic is also relevant in conversations of all types. Listening with our hearts sets the tone for more open and honest exchanges of information and feelings. This will then have the effect of amplifying the good feelings from everyday conversations and negating the potential ill will from discussing our challenges.
Kevin Morgan is an author, entrepreneur and publisher. His publishing company, Sowjourn Publishers, markets books that uplift and inspire. To learn more about living a fulfilled life as a Christian single, visit http://www.sowjourn.com or his blog on singleness: http://mooskm.blogspot.com