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Hearing or Listening?

What will get into his Ears?

"Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak, and slow to become angry" (James 1:19).


To improve our listening skills we need to listen actively and attentively.  Listening is our most powerful tool in understanding what people mean when they talk to us.  We can then react in the correct way, because if we understand what someone says, we will avoid the misunderstandings that lead to conflict and quarrels.


Hearing and listening are not the same thing.  Hearing is the act of listening to sounds, while listening involves our brains decoding the sound into it's meaning for us.  For example, only hearing occurs when a person has little reason to listen carefully, such as to music, television or just being polite.

Active Listening:

To really listen, your mind needs to pay attention.  However, it is easy for the mind to drift and think about other things while listening to someone.  The cure for this is active listening which involves listening with intelligence and purpose.

It may be to gain information, obtain directions, understand others, solve problems, share interests, see how another person feels, or show support.  It requires that the listener pay attention to the words and feelings of the speaker, hear what is said, and understand their meaning, and then respond correctly after the other person has finished speaking.

Listening Well:

Few people know how to listen well.  Most of us are too busy talking and concerned about ourselves to take the time and effort to listen to others.  In Proverbs 4:20, Solomon has some advice as to how we should listen:

"My son, pay attention to what I say and listen closely to my words."

Jesus also blessed His disciples because they listened, and then obeyed Him by doing what He had commanded and taught them.  The Apostle James was one of those disciples and in James 1:19, he wrote:

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."

Responding in the Right Way:

It's wrong to get angry with people for what you thought they said, or if you misheard or misunderstood what they said.  This does not bring about the kind of life that God desires for us.  If this often happens to you, then you need to pray and ask God to help you listen more carefully in the future, and to be able to respond to other people in the right way.

God bless.

Copyright © Sharon Children's Ministries

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