You will never genuinely know another’s values or interests until you become a “compassionate listener.” Compassionate listening focuses on others…their growth, their healing, their interests, and their happiness.
Philippians 2:3&4 is a wonderful description of a compassionate listener, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Notice that true, healthy, safe conversation starts with an attitude of “humility…not looking to your own interests.” Be patient, humble, and compassionately L-I-S-T-E-N.
“Selfish ambition and vain conceit” are relationship killers. They are about “you” not others. They are not good listeners and are destructive to solid relationships.
James 1:19 is clear, “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” The old saying is, “You have two ears and one mouth, so use your ears twice as much as your mouth.” This definitely is sage advice.
Notice what the Bible says about the speaker who speaks before he listens. Proverbs 18:13 declares, “To answer before listening—that is folly and shame.” Listen without judgment and hold your advice until you are sure you know the whole story. Speaking before listening blocks or delays the resolution of problems. If you are hasty and judgmental, you can bet others will not want to share anything of significance with you.
James 1:25 may spur you on to become a compassionate listener, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
Proverbs 15:14 speaks clearly to us, “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.” If you want to be wise, one with a discerning heart, you learn from others which comes from being a compassionate listener.
A compassionate listener learns the worth and depth of Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Be still and become an intentional, mindful and purposeful compassionate listener. Choose to be quiet and in humility value others by listening.