Many people desperately search for an ear that will listen. Sometimes, sadly, they do not find the ear they need among Christians because these Christians are talking when they should be listening! But if we can no longer listen to our sisters and brothers, we will soon no longer to able to listen to God. As Bonhoeffer says, whenever we think our time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet, we will eventually have no time for God and for others--only time for ourselves and our own little plans. We live in a world where a lot of talk goes on; all around us, most of the time. And we contribute our share to that talk (some a bigger share than others!). We love to do it. We love to get our ideas out, share our views with others. But in the midst of it all, how many of us take the time to listen? To listen. To hear what others are saying. As the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer noted, "Just as love to God begins with listening to [God's] word, our love for others is learning to listen to them" [Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (London: SCM, 1967), 75]. We think we need to contribute something to a conversation by adding our "two cents worth." But did you ever stop to think that sometimes "listening can be a greater service than speaking"? (Bonhoeffer, 75). The Christian psychi­atrist Paul Tournier has made it his life to listen to people. He takes an interest in them, sits down and hears what's troubling them. And he wrote in one of his books about some people: "Suddenly [they] break off, as if astonished at [themselves]. 'I don't know why I tell you all this: I've never told anyone else. I never thought I should be able to tell anyone.' Then the person adds, looking me in the eyes: 'What a relief it is to get it all off one's chest'" [Paul Tournier, The Meaning of Persons (London: SCM Press, 1968), 136]. - Don McKim Blog Post


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