7 Keys To Being An Effective Listener

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Did you realize the letters which form the word LISTEN also create the word SILENT?

Do think there’s a reason why God gave us two ears and one mouth?  It’s been recommended that perhaps we should listen twice as much as we talk.

It’s rude and disrespectful to interrupt someone when they’re speaking?

There’s a difference between hearing and listening?

Did you know that the scripture gives us “7 Keys To Being An Effective Listener?”

James 1:19 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.”

1.         Hear and understand

I find it significant that James 1:19 begins with the word “understand” before we’re told to be “ready” listeners.

Iin fifteen different scriptures, it says: “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

I’m not going to list all the scriptural references because they were recently contained in a teaching I did entitled “God Told Us This Fifteen Times.”

Simply said, hearing God’s Word is not enough, you must also understand what you are hearing.

Now I’m sure someone is thinking “Yes, but, Brother Harold, the Word says that faith cometh by hearing.

Romans 10:17 does says:

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

According to Strong’s Concordance the Greek word for hearing is akoē (G189) which is defined as:

“the sense of hearing; the organ of hearing, the ear; the thing heard.”

However, akoē is from the root word akouō (G191) which is defined as:

“to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf; to attend to, consider what is or has been said; to understand, perceive the sense of what is said; to comprehend and understand.”

And yes, you guessed it. . .it’s the same Greek word that is used in all of the fifteen verses discussed earlier in the teaching where we’re told to “listen and understand.”

That’s why it’s important when we read the Word of God. . .that we keep a pen and paper close by so we can make notes on the things God will show us while reading His Word.

2.         Slow to speak

An effective listener will hear, listen and understand before speaking.  Don’t fret about being slow to speak. . .because it just gives God the opportunity to tell you what to say.

Exodus 4:10-11 in the Amplified Bible says:

“And Moses said to the Lord, O Lord, I am not eloquent or a man of words, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and have a heavy and awkward tongue.

“And the Lord said to him, Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the dumb, or the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Is it not I, the Lord?”

I’ve also found over the years if I think before I speak. . .I don’t have to eat my words or make as many apologies for misspeaking.

3.         Slow to take offense

An effective listener should not take offense at what has been said to them for three reasons.

First, if you’re offended. . .God will not hear your prayers.

Second, love covers a multitude of sins.

Third, not being offended by an obvious offense is a reflection of the depth of your character.

Colossians 3:12-14 in the Message Bible says:

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”

1 Peter 4:8 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].”

4.         Slow to get angry

An effective listener will also be slow to anger because of the scriptural example set for us in Exodus 34:6 in the New Living Translation:

“The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh!  The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”

One other practical point. . .if you find yourself getting angry in the middle of a conversation I can assure you that you’re no longer focusing on what the person is saying. You are shaping into words what’s bottled up inside you.

You don’t win. . .by being angry.

5.         Be known as someone trustworthy

When you listen more than you talk. . .you gain a reputation.

Proverbs 21:28 in Today’s New International Version says:

“Those who give false witness will perish, but a careful listener will testify successfully.”

Proverbs 11:13 in the New Century Version says:

“Gossips can't keep secrets, but a trustworthy person can.”

If you’re known as a trustworthy listener. . .then you will be rewarded.

Luke 19:17 in the Message Bible says:

"He said, 'Good servant! Great work! Because you've been trustworthy in this small job, I'm making you governor of ten towns.'”

6.         An effective listener is also a doer of the Word

Two scriptures say it all.

James 1:22 in the Message Bible says:

“Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.”

Psalm 119:5 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Oh, that my ways were directed and established to observe Your statutes [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them]!”

7.         Effective listeners receive benefits

Acts 10:44 in the Message Bible says:

“No sooner were these words out of Peter's mouth than the Holy Spirit came on the listeners. The believing Jews who had come with Peter couldn't believe it, couldn't believe that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on "outsider" non-Jews, but there it was—they heard them speaking in tongues, heard them praising God.”

When you learn to effectively listen. . .you will receive benefits.

James 1:25 in the Contemporary English Version says:

“But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don't just hear and forget.”

Did you get that?  When you listen and obey. . .not just hear and forget. . .God will bless you in everything you do.

I’d say that would be a great reason to become an effective listener.