The Art of Listening and Speaking

This entry is part 13 of 15 in the series Wisdom

The Art of Listening

There is an abundance of teaching on how to speak and how to write, but when was the last time you saw a class on listening? Yet, listening is the key of good communication, and communication is key to good relationships.

The book of Proverbs highlights the importance of listening, which requires a measure of other-centeredness. We want to focus on the ideas of others, paying attention to their desires, so that we can build a good relationship with them and perhaps minister to their needs.

Good listening requires humility, thoughtfulness, and a teachable spirit. We have to listen to the counsel of others, even if it goes against our selfish reasons or our pride.

The Power of Speech

The art of listening is tied in with the power of speech because the wise person knows that speech is powerful and valuable. Our words can do so much, either for good or for evil. They have the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21), so we need to be cautious with them, listening before we speak.

Think about the power of sarcasm. Taken from the Greek word sarkasmos, meaning “to cut the flesh,” sarcasm is a common tool for cutting people down, often leading to anger and retaliation. On the other hand, we can give people spiritual nourishment by speaking loving encouragement or gentle truth to them.

Because we can either heal or wound with our words (Proverbs 12:18), we need to speak in the right time, in the right amount, and for the right reasons.

Watch more videos from Ken’s Sunday morning class.

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