Lent Series

Barriers to Listening


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Barriers to Listening

By Scott Stoner

Listening is essential for the development of intimacy, trust, healing, and wisdom. —Lisa Saunders

When you ask a young child to do something they don’t much feel like doing, such as picking up their toys or getting ready for bed, there is a reaction they commonly have that is simultaneously amusing and a bit off-putting. They cover their ears to keep from listening to what is being said to them. The logic is if they can’t hear, they won’t have to do what is being asked of them.

While I don’t do anything quite so obvious as putting my hands over my ears when someone is talking to me, I certainly can do other things that interfere with my being a good listener. I can, for example, interrupt a person speaking to me. I can pretend to be listening when, in fact, my mind is somewhere else. I can also multitask when someone is talking to me, which clearly says I am not giving them my full attention.

Our focus for this Lent daily devotional is listening. As we begin this journey, I invite each of us to become aware of things we do, intention-ally or not, that limit our ability to listen well. As Lisa Saunders wrote yesterday, “Ash Wednesday is the start to a season inviting us to set aside or stop whatever gets in the way of our listening well.”

Making It Personal: What gets in the way of your ability to listen well to others? Can you think of a time recently when you did not give your full attention to someone? If so, what can you learn from that experience? 

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