To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept. Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.” Henri Nouwen
“You must all be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to get angry. …
If you claim to be religious
but don’t control your tongue,
you are fooling yourself,
and your religion is worthless.”
James 1:19b, 26
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you have a strong enough sense of “inner stability” so that you don’t feel compelled to explain, defend or interpret yourself to others?
- How often, if ever, do you have a conversation where you don’t feel the need “to make your presence known?” What would be the point of that anyway?
- Loving listening is a “form of spiritual hospitality.” No wonder then that James says it’s a test of our religion. How can you make a plan for upcoming conversations, to extend loving hospitality more effectively?
Abba, help me to be quick to listen and slow to speak today. Help me “to receive, welcome and accept” what others have to give instead of striving “to make my presence known.” I ask that people I meet today would feel “accepted” by me, and by you – valued, heard and loved.
For More: Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen
The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to provide you with something of uncommon value each day in less than 300 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)