Proverbs 18:13, 15 – He who answers before listening— that is his folly and his shame. The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out. (NIV 19840
“You’re short on ears and long on mouth.”― John Wayne
“I never miss a good chance to shut up” ― James Patterson, Along Came a Spider
“One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears – by listening to them.” – Dean Rusk
“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
“[R]emember we’re trying to understand their point of view, not necessarily agree with it or support it. Understanding doesn’t equate with agreement. Sensitivity does not equate to acquiescence. [W]e’re merely trying to get at what others think in order to understand why they’re feeling the way they’re feeling and doing what they’re doing.” – Crucial Conversations, by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler. McGraw Hill, 2012.
My Musings – Listening involves more than the ears. It involves the heart (sincerity). Listening with the heart does not necessarily mean we will agree with what we hear, but it may help us understand (discern) why they hold the views that they do. Understanding may not lead to agreement, but it should lead to helping us craft a more heartfelt response and improve the odds that we will convince them of what we hold to be the truth.
My Advice – Start a crucial conversation by listening (before talking) with your heart (with sincerity). Only then can your ears hear sufficiently well enough to equip your lips to speak with enough knowledge to persuade others to your point of view. It is foolish and shameful to do otherwise. In the process, you may learn that your point of view was just that and not the truth after all.