“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen,” says Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, author and integrative medicine professor. “Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.”

Twice in Mark 4, while teaching, Jesus urges, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen” (verses 9 & 23, NRSV). One way we show what Jesus means to us is by truly listening to his word — not just hearing sounds but being attentive and intentional. Likewise, one way we love and serve others is by respectfully listening to them: not assuming we know what they feel or mean or will say; not planning what to say even as they’re still speaking, but listening deeply to learn about them and their experience.

We often think living our faith calls for great accomplishments or worldwide reach. But Remen says, “A loving silence often has … power to heal and to connect.” Don’t underestimate something as basic and doable as listening as a way to practice Christlike love.


(an article used with permission from Communication Resources)

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