Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Ears of God

Bonhoeffer writes with great depth and insight; so when it comes to listening, I'm all ears. Except I'm not; right now my grade for listening would be: Needs Improvement! And lots of it.

That said, read and listen to this entry:
For Christians, pastoral care differs essentially from preaching in that here the task of listening is joined to the task of speaking the Word. There is also a kind of listening with half an ear that presumes to already know what the other person has to say.

This impatient, inattentive listening really despises the other Christian and finally is only waiting to get a chance to speak and thus to get rid of the other. This sort of listening is not fulfillment of our task. And it is certain that here, too, in our attitude toward other Christians we simply see reflected our own relationship with God.

It should be no surprise that we are no longer able to perform the greatest service of listening that God has entrusted to us - hearing the confession of another Christian - if we refuse to lend our ear to another person on lesser subjects.

The pagan world today knows something about persons who often can be helped only by having someone who will seriously listen to them. On this insight it has built its own secular form of pastoral care, which has become popular with many people, including Christians.

But Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been entrusted to them by the one who is indeed the great listener and in whos work they are to participate. We should listen with the ears of God, so that we can speak the Word of God.
- from Life Together 99

~~A Year With Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Daily Mediations from His Letters, Writings, and Sermons.

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