The gift of listening is rare in our world. Sometimes it is hard to find even in the church. There is always so much to do and so little time. Our communication seems to be built around sound bites and instant messaging. People seem ready to label others rather than listen to them. In a world that is more and more fearful and polarized, patient listening is harder to find.
What difference might it make if we see that other person as one beloved by God and therefore connected to us? What might it mean for us to give our full attention? How can we prepare ourselves to be more receptive and hospitable?
We might find in our own hearts some new sense of God’s extravagant love. We could find ourselves bringing healing to broken relationships. We might feel God’s own longing “that they may be one” even stronger within ourselves. To listen patiently may well be a bold act after all.
This message is adapted from “Tools for Patient Listening” written by E. Louise Williams in the December 2005 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.