Compassionate listening is healing & exciting!

Has anyone noticed that to rudely berate people over politics, Covid, and race, isn’t making America great? We need love for that! Sincerely listening, with an open heart, is a powerful relationship tool, that is too often unused.

I’ve heard that people like to be listened to. Do you? A failure to communicate often leads to misunderstanding, hatred, and even violence.

You can hear a person’s voice but miss their heart. Try not to do that.

Anyone can listen to and hear another person’s heart, but it takes real courage to do so. People who aren’t afraid have the ability to listen to other people’s opinions without insulting them and to respond with kindness. A great but seldom mentioned fear, is the fear to hear something outside of your comfort zone. When someone rudely tells you, “I’ve heard enough!” what they mean is that they’re scared of what you’re saying.

Being heard is healing. Compassionate conversation is comforting. You can help heal someone’s life, by listening with your heart. Just because you don’t want to hear it, doesn’t mean that something isn’t true.

Presumptive listening assumes that you already know what someone is going to say. If you read between the lines while you’re listening to someone, part of you isn’t listening. However, when you truly hear with compassion, there’s a connection made at a deep level, between you the other person.

It’s hard to listen without giving your opinion, but it’s very educational. Try it sometime.

Sometimes we humans hear what we want to hear, instead of what someone is saying. We think we were listening when we weren’t. Everybody has a story of struggle to tell, but many people have no one willing to hear their story. Will you?

If you won’t regularly listen to people who see things differently than you do, you’ll become addicted to your own opinions. If you won’t truly hear people, you will reject their opinion without even fully knowing what it is.

A narrow mind can hear words, but often their meaning can’t squeeze through. To hear a person’s words but fail to hear his heart (and/or the meaning of what he’s saying) is to ignore. It’s hard being ignored. It’s also hard to love people who say things you don’t want to hear and/or do things you don’t want them to. Love them anyway.

The belief that someone who disagrees with you must be misled, is misleading. Boldly confronting someone may stir up your adrenaline and satisfy your anger, but compassionately listing is more effective. Verbally threatening people is ineffective communication and almost always stirs up more hostility and sometimes even violence.

Kindness listens and sincerely tries to understand. Cruelty refuses to hear and gets angry, making no effort to understand. A listening ear is good, but a heart that is willing to humbly hear is better.

When someone tells you that your words don’t add up, it may be because they don’t fit in their comfortable equation.

The freedom of speech morphs into hostility, anger, and bullying, unless the speaker is also willing to hear and to understand. To use your freedom of speech to try to intimidate others into silence, is hypocrisy. Love that won’t listen and a heart that won’t hear, both are an oxymoron. Love cares about people enough to compassionately hear them.

When people are desperate to be heard, to brush them aside with platitudes, accusations, or anger, is cruel. When we choose to see people as a threat, our defensiveness makes us unable to hear their heart and to respond with kindness. However, if you listen to people with an open heart, you can find something to care about in their story.

If we’re unwilling to hear what we don’t want to hear, our opinions will always be based more on our desires than on truth. To reject someone’s opinion before you try to understand it, is prejudice. Instead of trying to make people say what you want to hear, sincerely listen to what they have to say.

It’s difficult to convince people of the love of Jesus, if Christians won’t hear their hurt and show them God’s compassion. I say, “This way.” You say, “That way.” Jesus says, “I am the Way.” Perhaps we both need to listen to and obey Him. I hear Jesus’ rivers of living water flowing within me. I feel their current carrying me with joy, peace, and love. It’s amazing!

I’ve learned that if I’ll listen to people with my heart wide open, learn a lot and experience amazing connections. Here are some examples: 1) I sold black history books door-to-door two summers. The things I heard changed my life and I’ve never been the same. 2) As a counselor in a drug and alcohol rehab, I listened individually to about 1,400 men. It was an amazing education. 3) I spent 3 months in India, briefly seeing only one other white person one time. What I heard filled me with love for Indians. 4) As a motivational speaker for 12 years, I would listen to my clients and learn as much as I could about their industry so that I could better connect with their employees or members. 5) As officers/pastors with The Salvation Army for 10 years, my wife and I didn’t preach, but let people listen to each other share. Listening with compassion is powerful!

If you would like to compassionately learn more about America’s racial situation, check out this link.

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @ http://amzn.to/2nCr5dP
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