By Dr Adeyemi Agbelusi
“We must bear the ‘burden’ of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others” (Romans 15:2b).
Listening is probably the most important skill in building friendships and relationships, because you can’t love people without listening to them.
There’s a big difference between hearing and listening. You can hear something and not really be listening. I can’t tell you how many arguments I’ve had with my kids or my wife because I was listening to the words instead of the emotions. We listen to reply rather than listen to understand.
Sometimes the words don’t even matter. Somebody can say to you, “I’m fine,” but the way they say it tells you they’re not fine. Listening means you also hear what the person isn’t saying.
That’s called empathy. Empathy means to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and learn their point of view. You ask yourself, “How would I feel if I were in that situation?”
Listening with empathy means you listen without interruption and you listen for fears and feelings. You listen for what they aren’t saying. You’re not trying to fix the situation.
Sometimes healing comes just by listening!
This is what we call audience therapy. The fact that you allow a person just express their emotions freely without fear or hindrance allows them to unburden themselves and set things in the right perspective.
What does it mean to be considerate or to bear the burden of a doubt of others? It means that when people are in so much pain and hurting so badly that they don’t even know what they believe, they need the devotion of a loyal friend—someone who will be present and listen with empathy.
People are all wrap up with their own issues today. We are now a “selfie” generation and no-one really cares about the feelings of others. Suicide, depression and other vices can be eliminated if people have someone to talk with!!
Can you be that person to somebody this week?
How can you show someone through your body language that you are really listening?
What is the benefit of asking, “How would I feel if I were in that situation?”
What are some ways you can limit interruptions and distractions when you are trying to listen to someone?
Prayer: Lord, teach me to love You above all else and to show love and empathy to people you have placed along my path in life. Use to to comfort and bless others in Jesus name. Amen
(C) Adeyemi Agbelusi