In a spiritually inspiring quote from Galatians 6:2, the Bible asks us to "carry each other's burdens," because "in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." (James 1:19)
Most people are wrapped up in their own world, in their own thoughts, feelings, relationships, and issues. Being the center of your own world doesn't necessarily make you selfish or mean that you are a bad person. We all experience life through our own eyes and our own eyes alone. We only know our own thoughts, our own experiences, our own joys, and our own sorrows.
The problem with this situation, however, is that it becomes all too easy to forget that other people's thoughts, joy, pain, and hopes and dreams are just as real as our own. We may love our friends and our family dearly, but even the most selfless and altruistic people have a hard time understanding someone who has gone through something they have not.
This limitation is why the simple act of listening is the single most important aspect of getting to know and truly understand other people. It is the single best way to overcome your own selfishness and self-absorption. We can never truly see the world through someone else's eyes, but we can do the next best thing and listen, really listen, to what they have to say.
In a spiritually inspiring quote from Galatians 6:2, the Bible asks us to "carry each other's burdens," because "in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." The only way that we can carry one another's burdens is to listen to each other about what those burdens are. Real listening is not the passive act allowing someone to tell you about their day or their life while you zone out. Real listening is an active exercise, one that requires constant engagement and effort.
People know and appreciate when what they have to say doesn't fall on deaf ears. This not only benefits the other person, but it can have numerous benefits for you as well. When people feel heard, then they are more likely to be open and honest with you. They are more likely to offer you insight and advice that can help you see the world in a new way.
Proverbs 12:15 makes it clear that: "The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice." Too many people are set in their ways and unable to change because they make no effort to look at the world around them through any perspective other than their own. Learning to listen is the only way that we can truly appreciate the advice given to us by those who care about us the most.
Christians are asked, above all, to love their fellow human beings as brothers and sisters. A big part of expressing your love for someone is giving them your ear and letting what they say make a real impact on you. If you want to show your friends and family how much you care, then one of the simplest things you can do is to listen.
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”