We believe that the highest compliment we can pay to someone is to listen with understanding, while listening poorly can be highly offensive.
I’ve heard my friend, Dr. Tim Gardner, speak on many occasions. I wholeheartedly agree with his thought-provoking mantra—“The heart cry of every person is to know and be known and to love and be loved.” I further believe that knowledge of and love for another human being begins by listening with understanding to their heart cries.
We “gifted communicators” have to work extra hard at listening with understanding. Though God gave us two ears and one mouth to be used in proportion to on another, we’re prone to enter most conversations with earplugs and a megaphone. Talk truly is cheap, while listening is priceless. To truly listening with understanding is some of the hardest work you’ll ever do.
Recall my story about the man who led me to Jesus. Tom was a very gifted communicator. Though an eloquent and powerful speaker, it was Tom’s superbly tuned listening skills that truly set him apart. He was one of those rare people who could make you feel like you were the only person in the room…make that on the planet. To have a conversation with Tom was to be the center of his universe. As a result, we became very close friends during the year that I was privileged to be under his tutelage. That was 41 years ago. I can say without hesitation that I experienced more personal growth during that year than any since. Why? Because Tom listened to me with understanding, then spoke the truth in love into my heart, mind and soul.