Blocks to Listening

God’s wants each of us to be good listeners.  This past Friday’s devotion was a challenge to “Learn to Listen.”  Three key verses were hi-lighted as core to listening.  James 1:19 commands “every person to be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”  Proverbs 18:13 declares, “if one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”  Philippians 2:3&4 challenges us, “in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”  Good listeners value others.

Today, I will list below things that are blocks to listening (original author unknown).  At the end of each of these, you will find a space to determine if this particular blocker applies to you.  Put an “X” in the space if it is applicable to you.

Mind Reading:  Ignoring the actual content of what their partner is saying in favor of their own assumptions and hunches. ___ Rehearsing:  You’re so busy rehearsing what you’ll say next that you never really hear what your partner is telling you. ___ Filtering: Means that you listen to some things but not others that you deem to be unimportant or a subject that you don’t want to acknowledge. ___ Judging: Means that you have stopped listening to your partner because of some negative judgement, or that you only listen for the purpose of assigning blame and putting negative labels on your partner. ___ Daydreaming:  Your attention wanders drifting away into your own thoughts. ___ Advising:  Your partner barely has time to speak a complete sentence before you jump in with your advice.  Your urges to resolve or fix everything deafens you to your partner’s simple need to be heard. ___ Sparring:  You listen only to disagree, argue, and debate. ___ Being Right:  This block protects you from hearing anything that suggests you are less than perfect. Derailing:  Change the subject or joke it off whenever the conversation becomes too personal or threatening.  By misdirection or humor, you avoid listening to your partner’s serious concerns. ___ Placating:  You are too quick to agree.  You are so concerned with being nice, supportive, and agreeable that you don’t give your partner time to fully express his or her thought before saying, “You’re right (or I am sorry), I will fix this.” ___ Defending:  Quick to feel misunderstood and judged.  Fear drives the defender to be too quick to “explain” motives instead of listening. ___

Evaluate yourself.  How did you do? God’s desire is for each of us in humility to value and encourage another by being a good listener.

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