Monday, March 27, 2023

Are You a Good Listener?

 By: Joanne Viola

Toddlers have the amazing skill of selective hearing. They can cause one to question whether they have heard you at all.

Listen, as defined by means not only hearing or giving attention with the ear but also “attending closely for the purpose of hearing with the intent to follow through or obey.”

But it isn’t a problem found solely among toddlers. People are no longer “listening” when others are speaking. Everyone talks over others. Listening is truly becoming a lost facet of communication.

In his book, 40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ron Klug shares this quote:

“Many people seek a sympathetic ear and do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking when they should be listening.” (from page 72)

Love for one another is very much on display as we truly listen to one another. But the issue of being a good listener goes further.

Paul, in writing to the Romans, knew we would find it hard to listen and reminded us all:

“For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God.
It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.”
(Romans 2:13, NLT)

Jesus in addressing the people one day said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me” (John 10:27, NLT). Their problem was not a lack of information because Jesus had already taught them much.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer hit it on the head when he penned this thought:

“Christians who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either; they will always be talking even in the presence of God.” (from page 72)

True listening is hearing that leads the way to an action. Let’s become people who truly listen to one another, and who quiet ourselves before God.


Are you a good listener? What would it take for you to listen better to others? To God?


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay





  1. Listening is challenging on many levels for me and one I am working on. I have to listen hard if there's background noise - which can cause me to miss-hear. I'll tell my boys often, "I hear your voice, but I have no idea what it is saying," because the background noise muddles it all. Yet, I am learning - slowly - to intentionally listen and not plan my response while I am listening - and that is the most important kind of listening of all - the giving someone space to talk! I needed your reminder to truly listen as I start my week!

    1. Oh my gosh, Maryleigh, this is so me >>> "and not plan my response while I am listening." Yes, at times I am just waiting to jump in with my planned response. Oh, to become a better listener!

  2. I love the old word "hearken." It takes time and concentration and putting aside our own agenda to truly listen.

    1. I looked up "hearken" in the dictionary just to see what light could be shed. I laughed as I read "archaic meaning to listen." Yes, sometimes I wonder if listening has become an archaic action :) You are so right in pointing out it takes time, concentration, and a putting aside of our own agenda. In other words, we cannot be selfish if we are truly going to listen. Grateful you shared!


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