Some people tend to have a hard time listening to people who do not speak in the language of Biblical absolutes. Ineffective listening is usually the single biggest hindrance to effective communication between people. The following is a list of some of the most common barriers to listening:
a. PREOCCUPATION - Some people are so preoccupied with their problems that they fail to concentrate on what another person says. By failing to give someone our full attention it may seem that we are trying to defend our own position so vigorously we cannot afford to let down any of our guard. Some people are so preoccupied with their own interests, concerns, or goals that they only hear what relates to their activities. Preoccupation negates the possibility of empathetic understanding that is essential for any relationship.
b. LACK OF INTEREST - Many people only listen to the things that will bring them benefits. Tuning a preacher out is a common pattern for many churchgoers. They have grown used to not agreeing with their pastor. Many closed minded people fail to see the relevance of past messages. Elders lose interest in the concerns of certain groups in the church because they are not interested in problems outside of their domain. Youth may tune out elders because they consider the older generation out of touch with the needs of contemporary youth culture.
c. PHYSICAL OR EMOTIONAL CONSTRAINTS - Certain factors may hinder the way people listen to what is really important. Perhaps people are so hungry, tired, or discouraged that they do not have the mental or emotional strength
to listen to someone tell about Biblical absolutes.
d. EXTERNAL INTEFERENCE - Certain physical distractions can inhibit peoplefrom hearing 100% of what is being said. Poor sound equipment can limit the amount of information that is communicated clearly. Outside noise from people's conversation, sporting activities, or car horns may discourage people from getting every word of a message.
e. NEGATIVE ATTITUDES - Skeptical attitudes can hinder the communication between people. Distrust tends to block communication. Many of the Pharisees failed to hear what Jesus Christ said because of their attitudes of unbelief, resentments or fear.
f. LACK OF DISCIPLINE - Some people fail to hear what others say because they have not trained their minds to be disciplined and focused. Give others your entire attention when they are speaking. Jesus even gave His time and attention to listen to the needs of children.
g. MISUNDERSTANDING - Many preachers are disappointed because their audience fails to grasp the key principles of their sermons. Even worse, some people will put a negative spin to a message. Certain people distort what has been
said by hearing something different than what was intended. Finally, some people will only hear what they want to hear. Their minds are closed to hearing what the Holy Spirit is speaking to them about. God knows what specific changes need to be made in each person's life. Our verbal communication needs to be backed up with a consistent life of love, faithfulness, and self-control if people are to consider our communications as credible.