Listening is so important. It has been a weakness of mine, but God has graced me with some suffering in life (really minor things by comparison to others) that has gifted me with a greater ability to listen. My personality and demeanor are often “off-putting” and has been described as “aloof” and “unapproachable.” I check in with those closest to me and this has been confirmed.
So let me say publicly, if I have ever made you feel uncomfortable in my company, I’m sorry. I’m working on becoming better at empathetic listening. I don’t think I will ever NOT be someone that has strong opinions and feelings about things, that is who God has wired me to be. I have a prophetic propensity, and I can’t apologize for who God made me to be, and it would be an affront to God if I acted differently. But I can always improve my listening skills. I can always make attempts to be more empathetic. So can you. How are your listening skills?
There have been many times in my life where I have attempted to share what is going on with me with others and I didn’t feel heard. This is most likely because others were not truly listening, not being heard has cost me in my life. Bad decisions, unwise actions etc. Now imagine if someone with my personality and gifts of communication isn’t being heard, how many others, with so many other challenges, aren’t being heard?
Consider those who society has taught us not to listen too…the marginalized, poor, different. If people aren’t heard, they will often shout to be heard. They will utilize megaphones, loudspeakers, they will set fires (literally and figuratively.) Then they are demeaned as loud, arrogant, rioters, disorderly, snowflakes, agitators. Perhaps they never had anyone genuinely and with empathy attempt to hear what they have to say.