TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2022.
TOPIC: BASIC COUNSELLING SKILLS: ACTIVE LISTENING.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES: James 1:19 & Proverbs 18: 2 and 13.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the leading spokesman for the German Protestant resistance to the Nazi regime said: “The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love towards God begins with listening to his Word, the beginning of love for the brethren begins by learning to listen to them.”
God’s Word comes to us today with the simple message: “Everyone should be quick to listen; slow to speak.” We need to work on the message because, within our relationships, usually the instinct to talk is stronger than the instinct to listen. That is why our brother James, may be hitting on an aspect of our sinful nature. Our egotist, selfish nature desires to be heard by others, to defend ourselves, rather than to listen to and understand others.
Listening is a learned skill. There is a significant difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is a biological function, and like breathing or blinking it happens whether you are consciously telling yourself to do it or not. Listening, on the other hand, is a mental process.
It requires thought, effort, and practice. However, not many people are good listeners. Has it ever happened to you, if someone is commenting in a small group and then the tendency to interrupt, correct, or quickly present another point of view comes to mind? The book of wisdom says “it is folly and shame to him.” Never feel bad, it only means that we need to work on our listening skills as upcoming counsellors/therapist.
Active listening is listening to the whole person in order to genuinely show interest and understand as well as possible. Listening to what your client is thinking, feeling, wanting, attitudes, opinions or what the message means. It is a challenging mental task – your ears, eyes, brains and heart and every part of your body are involved. It establishes trust, helps the client open up to disclose their thoughts, and encourages them to share their emotions.
Our friendship, marriage, relationship with those we care about is built up through the art of listening. To listen is to show love. When using the skill of listening, it is useful to remember: ‘We have one mouth and two ears so we can listen twice as much as we speak’.
PRAYER GUIDE: Dear Lord, please grant me the grace to be a good listener. Amen.
MEMORY VERSE FOR THIS WEEK:
Proverbs 11:14 – “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”