Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak
JAMES 1:19 (NLT)
When a family member or a friend is hurting our ears are needed at least twice as much as our mouths – perhaps that is why we have two ears and only one mouth! Perhaps that is why the Scripture encourages us to listen and urges caution when we speak. The Scripture also reminds us that there is …
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
ECCLESIASTES 3:7 (NLT)
The hurting needs a listening ear and heart – someone before whom they can be totally honest. They need a safe place to uncover their pain – reveal their questions and doubts – so that healing can begin.
“A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere,
before whom I may think out loud.”
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
A safe listener and friend gives a hurting person complete freedom to express whatever they are feeling inside – good, bad or indifferent. A safe listener and friend is not there to judge or offer solutions – he or she is there to offer a sanctuary of grace.
“What do you do when a hurting friend
says things that are irreverent – or worse?
Rejoice! Not in your friend’s impiety
But in the willingness to entrust her pain to you.“
A safe listener is also a wise active listener. A good listener asks the right questions – ones that delve beneath the surface and help a hurting friend understand and express deep thoughts and feelings:
- We have talked about everyone else – how are you doing?
- What are you doing to cope? What are you doing for yourself?
- Is this … what you are feeling?
- Do you understand why you feel that way?
- That seems difficult for you. Would you like to talk about it more?
A friend listens intently – makes eye contact, leans forward, expresses agreement or nods – to whatever a hurting friend says even if it has been said many times before. Take a tip from nature – your ears are not made to shut but your mouth is!
A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends
JOB 6:14 (NIV)
“He who can no longer listen to his brother
will soon no longer be listening to God either.”
On the journey with you,
Dave & Jan Dravecky