"God desires all men to be saved and come to the full knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4)
From the very beginning when the Father of lies entered the Garden and tempted Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Creation felt the effect of lies and falsehood (Gen. 4). It seems that we’re born with an innate nature to obscure truth. We see it in toddlers, adolescents and ourselves. As Christians we have the great privilege to have come to a knowledge of the truth, through the work of the Holy Spirit, the eyes of our heart have shone a light on our own personal sin and rejection of God and in response by God’s grace we have turned to Christ to place our hope in Him for salvation.
As God’s people we are called to walk in the truth and to share God’s truth with others. Our lives should reflect a life of truth. Yet we are still sinners and often truth can be tricky and obscured from sight. Sometimes what we see clearly in others we fail to see in ourselves. After all, it is much more comfortable to point out the sin of others rather than deal with the painful reality of our own sinful hearts.
As a Christian counsellor I have a desire to help my clients come to a knowledge of the truth and ultimately for them to walk in a deeper relationship with Christ. As Christians, We believe in the sufficiency of the Scriptures, that they are enough for us to learn about Salvation through Christ alone, that they are enough to grow us in holiness. Listening in order to gain understanding of ourselves and others is a practical way that we can grow in our relationships. We can listen firstly to God's Word by sitting still regularly and reading the Bible. We can meet up with others and hear another's perspective of God's Word, we can meet up one to one and listen to the story of another and offer to pray with them, we can also slow down and listen to ourselves. We can listen in a way that brings the truth to bear upon a person.
Counselling can be a wonderful space for genuine listening that leads to change. It can be a place where trust can be rebuilt particularly if trust has been broken in a person's previous relationships. Trust requires feelings of safety and reassurance, it also requires faith that the other will be present providing vital connection. When a person feels safe, heard and validated, this hits a core human need to feel loved and accepted and enables a person to eventually feel safe enough to share the secrets that are hidden in the dark recesses of the soul so that the light can expose it and bring truth to bear. Thus listening to another deeply is a powerful way for humans to feel understood. This type of love requires a giving up of control on the listener's part, they need to follow the other rather than lead, allowing the other to choose what they feel safe to explore and reveal about themselves. In today's busy culture we can feel poor in terms of the depth of relationships, listening is costly and most simply do not have the energy nor the time to invest.
Bonhoeffer writes "Just as love to God begins with listening to his Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them". Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were growing in this type of love in our families, churches and communities...
Want to learn more about how to listen well to another or would you like to experience the feeling of being really heard? Get in touch by visiting our contact page.