Home > Books on Spiritual Formation, love > The power of listening

The power of listening


Do you think the Lord is trying to teach me about listening?  Last week, the theme of the conference I attended was “Listening to God and to Others.”   A few days before that I finished reading Doubt by Os Guinness and his chapter on listening to others who doubt had the most impact on me.  There were the themes of “listening” to our context or to our culture in The Tipping Point and Culture Making, two books I recently finished. And finally, someone sent me a list, “10 ways to be a better listener.”  Here are a few comments on listening to those in doubt from Guinness’ book, Doubt.

  • Listening “is an expression of love in a form which is uniquely appropriate to the doubter.” 151
  • Listening ‘helps us avoid being “reactionary.”  If we do not listen to other people but only react to what they are saying, we will be guilty both of not taking them seriously and of missing the point.” 152
  • There is a deeply concealed impatience, if not open arrogance, in the attitude characterized by instant replies and irrelevant judgements.  Sometimes such answers are rude, sometimes they are completely wrong, but simply because we are looked to for an answer, we feel ourselves in a position of power where we need not stop to listen.  Actually we may not have listened to another person at all, only to our own echo.” 152
  • “People lose interest if not hope when they know they are not being listened to.” 153
  • “Listening is the first great part of remedying doubt.  . . Listen then with everything you have–with love, with acceptance, with concentration and with stillness, without impatience or inquisitiveness.  This is the listening that in saying little conveys much. 155-56′
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