A listening ear

“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The story is told of Franklin Roosevelt, who often endured long receiving lines at the White House. He complained that no one really paid any attention to what was said in such occasions. One day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment. To each person who passed down the line and shook his hand, he murmured, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The guests responded with phrases like, “Marvelous! Keep up the good work! We are proud of you! God bless you, sir!” It was not until the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. The ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming.”

It could be the most important thing you do today is to listen to someone – truly hear someone. This is no small ministry for imitates the way your Father in heaven listens to you when you speak with him in prayer. So “take heed how you hear.” As you “treat others as you would want to be treated,” you “love your neighbor as yourself” and you “glorify your Father in heaven.”

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