Good listening requires patience. Don’t be a “half-listener.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer says we should avoid, “a kind of listening with half an ear that presumes already to know what the other person has to say.” Ouch.
Good listening is an act of love. “Poor listening rejects; good listening embraces. Poor listening diminishes others, while good listening invites them to exist, and to matter” – David Mathis.
Good listening asks perceptive questions. David Mathis states, good listening asks perceptive, open-ended questions that don’t just tee up yes-no answers but gently peel the onion and probe beneath the surface (153).
Good listening is ministry. According to Bonhoeffer, “there are times where listening can be a greater service than speaking.”
Good listening prepares us to speak well. Listening well helps respond in a manner to give grace to the hearer.
Good listening reflects our relationship with God. Mathis again states a sobering statement when he writes, “our inability to listen well to others may be symptomatic of a chatty spirit that is drowning out the voice of God” (154).