Generous listening – hearts

By Dave Henning / November 10, 2023

“Honestly, learning to hear other’s hearts more loudly than their words is a skill that would help us all.  Generous listening is becoming a lost art. . . .  As a culture, we now collect information in clips and bit that are rarely, if ever, capable of capturing the complexities of a human heart.”- Alicia Britt Chole

In Chapter 42 (“How We Hear”) of The Night is Normal, Alicia Britt Chole presents the third tool to help when disillusioned with God’s people.

3.  When disillusioned with God’s people, learn to listen generously.  Today, the author stresses, we sacrifice quality for quickness.  As a result, we shout louder.  Yet, few of us seem to feel heard.

However, generous listening knows there’s always more to the story.  In addition, the generous listener hears what is offered in the context of the bigger picture.

Above all, one aspect of generous listening involves the choice to pause before one personalizes the words of another.  Because to take someone’s words personally fails to help anyone to be truly heard.  Finally, to hear others’ hearts more loudly than their words requires life-long effort.

4.  When disillusioned with God’s people, articulate your expectations.  Moving on to Chapter 43 (“Holding the Glass”), Dr. Chole stresses the need to take time to figure out how high above reality we hold the glass of our interpersonal expectations.

In conclusion, Dr. Chole notes the importance of taking time to identify the expectations that don’t take you by surprise.  Dr. Chole counsels:

“When you enter a new environment or a different season, sit down with Jesus and ask for His help in articulating your expectations as specifically as you can.  Write them down. Process them in prayer.  Ask God for life-giving edits as needed.  Identified and evaluated, our expectations can be held a little closer to the ground of reality, which can lead to less shattering for all involved.”

Today’s question: What helps you to honestly hear other’s hearts louder than their words?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Pain in the community of faith?

About the author

Dave Henning

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