By Ronny Milliner
How often do you leave the church building with very little idea of what was said? When the preacher gives a series of sermons, do you find it hard recalling what was said the previous Sunday? If you have these and similar problems, the cause is probably poor listening on your part.
While looking through some old Readers Digests, I came upon an article in the April 1969 issue, which I believe, would be of great value to members of the church. This article was written by Donald E. Smith, the Director of the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry. In it he gave four steps to becoming a better listener.
Because of our constantly listening to lectures, sermons, and other types of speeches, I thought it would be good to present these helps for the readers consideration.
Learn to listen deeply. Many times during worship services we will be listening halfheartedly. When someone drops something, a baby cries, or the people in front of us begin to whisper, we quickly devote our attention to these things and lose what the speaker is saying. However if we strive to tune in only the speakers voice, then these distractions will not be as noticeable.
Teach your ego to hold its breath. How often have you found yourself thinking of what you plan to do after the services instead of thinking with the speaker on the things he is putting before you? We must give up our self-centeredness if we are going to become good listeners.
Be concerned. Certainly if we are not listening to what is being said, then our minds will begin to wander to some other area of thought. We all should be craving to study and learn more about the Word of God.
Practice patience. A person does not become a good listener overnight. It will take time and hard, patient work to improve and overcome badly developed habits.
It is hoped that each one will review his listening and comprehension ability, and try to improve them so as to gain more knowledge about religious matters.
“He that hath an ear let him hear.”
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 7, pp. 10-11
December 14, 1973