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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

18 July 2018: Simon Mason, Life Church Petersfield

How well do we listen?

The writer, Roy T. Bennett, in 'The Light in the Heart', says this:

"Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words."

These are challenging words. Good listening is real skill, a gift, and it's something that we possibly do often. But how well do we do it? Do we consider ourselves to be good listeners?

Who or what might we listen to? It might be the sound of traffic, wind in the trees, birds singing, or people cheering as they watch an exciting football match. Or it could be to other people as they have something to tell us. How should we respond?

As the writer says, as we listen to others we should engage, take interest and do so 'with curiosity'. It's not about the reply we can give or what we can get out of it but listening helps us to understand other people and situations far better. As he says, we can 'listen for what's behind the words'. We can gain an insight that will benefit the speaker and deepen our understanding.

So might we find opportunities to listen to other people and listen to them well?

As a Christian, I believe that God is real and that He listens to us. In the Bible there's a line in Psalm 91 that says "He’s the hope that holds me, and the Stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great Confidence." He calls on us to also listen to Him, and know that He speaks to us. The words that are spoken can be life-transforming. How well are we listening?

The next PACT Prayer Day will be held next Wednesday, 25 July, at The Salvation Army Hall between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. The day will be organised and run by members of Life Church Men's Group and the theme will be Praying for Men - all are most welcome.

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