A few years ago, I shared seven challenges that prevent us from being good listeners. If you struggle with being a good listener (probably ALL of us), I’d encourage you to go back and read it and identify where and how you struggle with listening well.
My wife and I have been teaching marital communication and conflict resolution for over 17 years. We’ve taught it to dating and engaged couples, newlyweds, grandparents, and everything in between. We’ve taught it so many times that we ought to be experts in communication and conflict management. We know what the Bible says, can counsel couples out of major ditches and arguments, and have seen many couples learn how to communicate and conflict well.
But, there are times when we still struggle. A few months ago, Father’s Day weekend to be precise, we got into an argument over one of our kids’ basketball schedule. The weekend tournament schedule required travel to and from Waco and Dallas for multiple games on Saturday. Kristen planned on bringing our son to both games on Saturday, and then would come back home to Waco that night. Long story short, he got the opportunity to play another game on Sunday, meaning Kristen would potentially have to drive back and forth again on Sunday.
I got frustrated because I was preaching at church on Sunday and wanted her to be there. And, did I mention it was Father’s Day? I hoped my family would be around. It was all selfishly motivated on my part, and my selfishness lead me to not listen well. While wanting family to be around on Father’s Day is not in and of itself inherently selfish, my response to the circumstances definitely was self-centered.
We quickly ended our phone call without any resolution to the problem. We were frustrated with each other and we each thought we were right and the other was wrong. No listening and no mutual understanding. Instead, we were two fools trying to figure out a problem, and when two fools try to figure something out, it usually doesn’t work out well.
I probably should practice what I preach!
What Does God’s Word Say About Listening?
What does God’s Word say about listening? Be encouraged by God’s heart for us to be better listeners:
- James 1:19 – “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,…”
- Proverbs 18:2 – “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”
- Proverbs 18:7 – “The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives.”
- Proverbs 18:13 – “To answer before listening— that is folly and shame.”
- Proverbs 26:11 – As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.”
- Proverbs 29:20 – “Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them.”
The good listener is the opposite of the fool. A good listener shows love, patience, care, and a humble posture.
- Who’s the best listener you know? What do they do that indicates good listening?
- Which of these passages listed above most challenges or encourages you?
Scott Kedersha is the Marriage Pastor at Harris Creek Baptist Church. Over the last 17 years as a marriage pastor, he’s worked with couples in every season of life. He’s the author of the book Ready or Knot? and the forthcoming book, The Ready or Knot Prayer Guide (October, 2023). He’s one of the co-hosts of the popular marriage podcast More Than Rommates. He lives in Waco, Texas, with his wife and four sons and writes at www.scottkedersha.com.