Most people live their lives believing three lies: 1) That they’re a good driver; 2) that they’re funny; and 3) that they’re a good listener.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor in Germany during World War II who vigorously opposed Hitler’s regime, wrote an amazing and challenging book on what it looks like to live in Christian community. The book’s called Life Together. Here’s some links on where you can buy it (Koorong is a rip-off, I’d advise going elsewhere on this one):
One of the facets he deals with is that when it comes to loving people, how we go at actually listening is key. Almost everyone thinks that they’re a good listener. But Bonhoeffer’s view comes as a stinging rebuke to most of us. Who hasn’t listened like this at some point? Maybe this is how you normally listen to people.
“Brotherly pastoral care is essentially distinguished from preaching by the fact that, added to the task of speaking the Word, there is an obligation of listening. There is a kind of listening with half an ear that presumes already to know what the other person has to say. It is an impatient, inattentive listening, that despises the brother and is only waiting for a chance to speak and so get rid of the other person. This is no fulfilment to our obligation, and it is certain that here too our attitude towards our brother only reflects our relationship to God.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
How we listen really matters.