Listen to Others

Listen! Listen! People around us need an ear.

When someone shares something about themselves or their circumstances , they’ve shared with vulnerability. Keep their personal information confidential, even if you didn’t promise to keep it confidential.

Most intimate, personal things shared with another, should be kept confidential.

Listen to people. Really listen to people. Then, listen to what is going on inside you as you listen. Is God speaking in their sharing or in the response of your heart to what is being shared?

Hear the person. As you respond to them, identify with the person and their issues. Please don’t try to fix them or their situation. Stay with them in that moment. Chances are your fix won’t be a viable fix for them or their issue. Identify with their pain, their joy, their sorrow–what ever it is that they shared with you.

Next, affirm the person. Affirming a person is finding something in the person or in what they shared to “stroke,” to approve, or applaud. Someone who shares intimate, even negative details needs to hear that they are still all right and acceptable to you.

Lastly, if appropriate, share something from your life that relates to what they shared with you. Keep it specific and short. Don’t take the focus away from the thing they shared with you. Communicate that you are sharing because you relate to what they have shared with you.

When someone shares something very personal with us, they are not necessarily looking for solutions nor do they need a solution right away. They need to be heard. They need to be affirmed and supported by us.

Don’t think about your response. Because then you turn the focus from them to you. God doesn’t need us to tell people what to do. He will. He needs someone to go through it with them so they do not feel alone.


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