RENEW | Day 26 • Ears to Hear, Part Three, “Types of Listening That Lead to Hearing”
What measure of hearing do you use? That is, to what degree do you open your mind and heart to hear instruction and direction? There are four ways in which all of us choose to listen, which affects how we hear.
Passive Listening • Passive means, “not active, but acted upon.” Passive people are generally sluggish and disengaged—believing that “whatever will be, will be.” Passive listeners only “perk up” when something is said that has the promise of easing their burdens or bringing more comfort into their lives.
A passive listener is the kind of person who ignores the importance of changing the oil in his automobile every 3000-5000 miles. Passive listeners tend to take action when trouble arises. Passive listeners tend not to act until they are acted upon. Passive listeners labor under a great number of self-inflicted problems.
Convenient Listening • Convenient is defined as, “Situated within easy reach.” The convenient listener only applies his heart to hear when the information or task is within easy reach. The best things in life are not usually within easy reach. We should not live with a sense of entitlement. We should live with a sense of purpose and responsibility.
Jesus says something that sounds strange on first hearing, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (John 11:12).
He was not talking about physical violence in this text. He was talking about being willing to take action. We call it being “proactive.” Convenient listeners do not embrace this approach to life.
Reflection Question: What areas of passive or convenient listening need to be corrected?