Let Us Listen

I read Life Together before my senior year of college as required reading for two different communities I was a part of at the time.Today, I found it here.

Reading this again reminds me I am still a work in progress many years later. I have not learned to listen.

From the book that first began to teach me how to live in community…

The first service one owes to others in the community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives us God’s Word, but also lends us God’s ear. We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them. So often Christians, especially preachers, think that their only service is always to have to ‘offer’ something when they are together with other people. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking. Many people seek a sympathetic ear and do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking when they should be listening. But Christians who no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either; they will always be talking even in the presence of God.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together


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3 responses to “Let Us Listen

  1. Our women’s retreat was entitled Listening. It was fabulous. Instead of listening to each other, we talk to each other. Really, we just take turns talking. Never listening.

    It was so enlightening to see how self absorbed I am. For exampled, you say “I went to eat Mexican food.” I say, “I love Mexican food! I’m from Texas, that’s all we eat!” I turn the conversation back to me.

    What I’m trying to say is, great post. Such a theme in my life right now. I hope I can be a better listener in the future.

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