The first time I became completely confused by my Vietnamese family, the only helper I could think of that might have a solution was the Vietnamese priest.
When I explained at length my dilemma, he gave me the best four word advice I’ve ever heard:
“Listen with your heart,” he said.
I had no idea my heart had ears. In fact, I’d pretty much forgotten about my heart entirely (a common American illness).
So now, I give that advice out to other, like me, who sometimes forget why they are hear on this earth. We’re here to serve others.
And to get them what they need, we need to listen with our heart.
(The Philippine Star) | Updated May 22, 2016 – 12:00am
Oh, that I had one to hear me! — Job 31:35
In her book Listening to Others, Joyce Huggett writes about the importance of learning to listen and respond effectively to those in difficult situations. As she relates some of her own experiences of listening to suffering people, she mentions that they often thank her for all she’s done for them. “On many occasions,” she writes, “I have not ‘done’ anything. I have ‘just listened.’ I quickly came to the conclusion that ‘just listening’ was indeed an effective way of helping others.”
This was the help Job sought from his friends. While it is true that they sat with him for 7 days in silence, “for they saw that his grief was very great” (Job 2:13), they didn’t listen when Job started talking. Instead, they talked and talked but failed to comfort him (16:2). “Oh, that I had one to hear me!” Job cried (31:35).
Listening says, “What matters to you matters to me.” Sometimes people do want advice. But often they just want to be listened to by someone who loves and cares about them.
Listening is hard work, and it takes time. It takes time to listen long enough to hear the other person’s true heart, so that if we do speak, we speak with gentle wisdom.
Oh, Lord, give us a loving heart and a listening ear. — David Roper
I cried, and from His holy hill
He bowed a listening ear;
I called my Father, and my God,
And He subdued my fear. — Watts
READ: Job 2:11-13
When I’m thinking about an answer while others are talking — I’m not listening.
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