Brenda’s Blog – December 12, 2023
Charles Stanley preached with passion for years as the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. His influence stretched worldwide with his clear presentation of the Christian gospel. As he vigorously preached he would regularly call the congregation’s attention with his one word emphatic “LISTEN!” Even listening to him for years I would still pause when he loudly announced “Listen.”
That two syllable word has lots of power. Those who teach communication emphasize the importance of cultivating the skill of listening – both passive and active. We can train our ears to hear the words someone is speaking, but it is a far greater skill to truly engage with another. Too often listening is simply a pause while we look for an opportunity to jump into the conversation.
My brother in law is a retired therapist with tremendous listening gifts. Often he was able to help men and women who struggled with communication and relationships. He developed an extremely helpful acronym that comes to mind when I find myself dominating a conversation. “Brenda, when you realize you are saying too much think WAIT: “Why Am I Talking?”
Our current media encourage the “overtalk” style – and how much true communication is lost. Recently on a weekend news program three women were presenting the benefits of a product. Their enthusiasm for visibility turned into a thoroughly foolish segment with nothing but three interrupting women and absolutely no marketing of the product.
In a noisy culture that values raising our voices and giving others an earful, we can choose a counter cultural path by being ones known as listeners. Being hearers allow us to make a difference in the lives of others. So, when Charles Stanley points his finger, and in his southern accent commands, LISTEN! We do and then commit to bring that listening ear to the benefit of others.