There are two types of receiving messages: listening and hearing.
What is the difference?
Hearing is to hear what a person is saying.
Listening is to hear what a person is saying with understanding.
In other words, a person can hear a message, but not necessarily listen to it.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
I have had experiences in my life time where there are people who only hear a message but do not act upon a message, who listen to a Word but do not act upon the correction. God doesn’t want people who hear, but people who listen! A person that acts upon it is one who has not forgotten what he has heard, but has engraved it in his heart, and it is why he is practicing it. Let us be one of those people that James was talking about. If we listen, the Word says that we will “be blessed in what we do!”
Why is it important to listen?
Listening is an opportunity for us to humble us and resolve a problem. We are not the only ones that are always right. How many times we want to get a point across without even listening to what the other person has to say? If we want the person to understand us, we need to make sure we listen to them. Similarly this happens when we are witnessing and evangelizing to people; we become so stubborn, arrogant, and religious that we end up arguing with the person, rather than concluding the argument by manifesting a miracle the way that Jesus did it.
It is important to listen. People are not looking after people who will hear them out, but people who will listen to them. Only through seeking that kind of audience, can one find comfort. Otherwise, they will find someone who will. Have you ever heard someone say, “No one understands me.”? Well, that’s why. Many people hear, but they don’t listen, so they don’t understand. Unless we understand, we cannot help effectively. Understanding has to do with compassion, and wanting to help out the other party resolve the problem. Listening is a gift, but it’s a process to develop it. Many of us want to be heard, but we need to be the first that sow the seed. Amen?
How do I know if I’ve been hearing but not listening:
#1 We’re always cutting off the other party.
#2 When the other party talks, we’re constantly thinking of ways to argue against it.
#3 We don’t consider what the other says, or reflect on their speech.
#4 We humiliate and discard the other’s opinion and or speech, as if ours is a better one.
How do we receive a message:
#1 Speech is difficult; constantly speak but constantly reflect on what the other saying.
#2 Be willing to die to your thoughts to continue the conversation of the other person.
#3 Be quick to listen, slow to speak. James 1:19