What is Christian Listening
Christian Listening is best encapsulated in James 1:19 19 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; (NRSV)
This is simple enough in principle, but hard to live. Too often we are slow to hear and quick to speak. Christian Listening doesn’t judge, discriminate, instruct, or evangelise. Listening requires good discipline, effort and intentionality. It is to offer unconditional personal regard to the client. Poor listening rejects the speaker; good listening empowers the speaker. Our sole aim is to show the love of Jesus, not preaching at people but reflecting Jesus’ unconditional love for them, and doing so in His name, enables people to see beyond their own suffering to the cross of Jesus himself.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “Just as love to God begins with listening to his Word, so the beginning of love for others is to listen to them.”