James tells us that we should be a people who are “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). There is certainly a gift that can be learned in becoming a better listener. James is concerned with the anger of man, within the context of this particular verse, when he concludes the thought with the fact that “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).
Our concern should be that we work on our anger, if that indeed is a problem. It is easy, while having a “spirited” discussion with someone, to not listen to them but to use those moments to feed our own anger. We need to take time to listen to those who are talking to us.
Someone has come up with “Six Steps To Becoming A Better Listener” and they are worth repeating here. You will note that they form a LADDER — one that we should be able to remember.
L — Look at the person speaking to you.
A — Ask questions.
D — Don’t interrupt.
D — Don’t change the subject.
E — Empathize.
R — Respond verbally and non-verbally.
It is possible that we sometimes leave the impression with others that we really don’t care what they have to say. It is usually unintentional. We are to be a people who are engaged in the soul-winning business, and as a result we must be good listeners if we are to be effective in the communication of the gospel.
– Dave Chamberlin, via Findlay church of Christ, Sparta, TN