"I am the vine; you are the branches." (John 15:5)

The Difference Between Hearing and Listening

As people, we all want to feel heard. We want to know that when we say something that someone is listening. On the receiving end, there is a difference between hearing and listening. For me, that difference is what is going on in my mind while the person is talking. If I am thinking about what I am going to say next and am simply waiting for them to stop talking, then I am not listening. If I am thinking about what they are saying, then I am listening AND I can respond to what they are saying.

It took me a while to figure it out, but a principle I have learned is that when it comes to personal discussions: Often times, people would rather feel heard than receive your help in fixing whatever they are talking about! In other words, listen first, and then listen some more! You can always offer to help as the discussion advances, but that isn’t always the best first response. Sometimes people just want to talk! 

The difference between feeling heard and not, can be the difference between the relationship of a brother or sister and that of someone we say hello to every Sunday. Feeling understood and valued as a human being is a powerful thing. As small group leaders, how well we listen to those in our group will determine how well those in our group listen to each other. So listen… and who knows? – When we listen more, we might learn a little more too!


February 11, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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