Summary: Many people are longing to find someone who will listen to their problems. If you want to be an effective counselor it is a good idea to be student of the art and science of listening. Jesus knew the best ways to minister to people by listening. The Lord

Many people are longing to find someone who will listen to their problems. If you want to be an effective counselor it is a good idea to be student of the art and science of listening. Jesus knew the best ways to minister to people by listening. The Lord was not ready to believe everything He heard because He was a discerning listener. Let us try to discover some of the ways that Jesus practiced effective listening skills to minister to a wide range of people and their problems.

1. Jesus was willing to listen to understand another person’s perspective. The Lord honestly appreciated learning about people’s concerns, values, and spiritual condition. After resurrecting from the dead, Jesus approached two men walking along the road to Emmaus and asked them,

"What are you discussing together as you walk along?" They stood still, their faces downcast. Cleopas asked the Lord, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?" "What things?" Jesus asked. (Luke 24:17-20)

The Lord knew how to ask informative questions that allowed Him to find out what was really important to people. If you want to be good listener learn to ask what, why, when, where and how type questions that allow people to explain things from their own level of understanding.

2. Jesus did not listen to people just to find something to criticize. The Lord listened to people with His eyes, ears and his whole mind. Christ took time to show people how important they were to Him by giving them His undivided attention.

The Lord listened to people’s emotions, ideas, and implications. Jesus listened in a way that helped Him identify a person’s need. When Jesus’ mother said to her son, "They have no more wine." Jesus said,

"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" My time has not yet come. His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water… now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. (John 2:3-9)

Jesus listened not only for the words, but for the sense of urgency in the tone of people’s voices.

3. Jesus was willing to put away negative feelings, grudges, hurts or misunderstandings to really hear what people were saying. The Samaritan woman at the well said,

"You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans)

Jesus risked being accused of becoming ceremonially unclean if he used a drinking vessel handled by a Samaritan, since the Jews held that all Samaritans were unclean.

Application: The Lord was willing to overlook even this deeply embedded cultural value for the sake of reconciling one human being to God.

4. Jesus was willing to listen without interrupting. The Lord learned how to listen to His heavenly Father every morning in prayer.

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." (Mark 1:35)

Application: When we learn to listen to God through His word and in our prayer times, it will become easier to listen to people as well.

5. Jesus spent a great deal of time listening to people who were hurting. "That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases." (Mark 1:32-34)

Application: By listening to each person’s specific problem the Lord showed that He was interested in more than just physical healing, but also emotional, social and spiritual restoration. Learn the art and science of listening for all kinds of reasons why people are hurting.

6. Jesus asked questions to direct people toward the essential problems in their life. The Lord was able to quickly discern the differences between what was essential and nonessential information. When you embrace the same purposes of Christ you will gain discernment in listening for essential bits of information.

Thomas said to Jesus, "Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Application: Learn to listen and speak to the essential truths.

7. Jesus listened for a progressive level of information: knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. The Lord was able to acquire information about people by letting one piece of information teach Him volumes about people’s spiritual maturity level.

Jesus put out a choice piece of spiritual truth to see how well Nicodemus was ready for higher levels of truth. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." Nicodemus said, "How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!"(John 3:3,4)

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