Have you ever had someone tell you, “You haven’t heard me?” Or have you ever expressed that to someone else? Sure you have, we all have. Not being able to hear what’s really being said is a handicap that can be aggravating and hurtful to people and relationships. Children who can’t hear loving protection in a parent’s direction, but rather hear control or distrust will be resentful and distant. A husband, who can’t hear his wife’s desire for understanding and companionship, but instead hears criticism and nagging, will be defensive and eventually duck away into activities or other relationships.
Of course there will be situations where a person sends mixed or disingenuous messages which make understanding impossible. But to be able to really hear a person who is sincere and consistent in their communication is valuable for them and us. It’s a trait that God desires. 
How can we become good listeners?
1. Cultivate discernment. The ability to really hear requires more than good ears. It includes the ability to discern the spirit of the person and understand how they are feeling and how the issues they are talking about have affected them. Discernment is an ability that God develops within us. It grows as we cultivate our relationship with Him, look at life honestly not wistfully, and learn more of His wisdom concerning people and life’s issues through the Book of Proverbs. 
2. Remove the obstacles. Our assumptions and our agendas can buzz within us and distract us from really hearing. Even if my assumptions are unconscious, I can easily tune out what’s being said because I think I already know what’s happening. If I’m consumed with a personal issue or agenda, my focus and my heart aren’t fully with the person. I will be distracted by this other unresolved issue that seems so critical to me. Assumptions aren’t all bad, because God wants us to be shrewd, and agendas are necessary for direction and fruitful lives. But keeping our agendas and assumptions in check enhances our hearing. Asking God to help us (a) lay aside our assumptions to learn from others and (b) rest from our agendas because He will help us accomplish what’s important, will help us be open minded and sensitive. 
I’ll pray that your hearing will continue to improve so that others will know they’re important to you and to God. Thank you for your friendship. You are important to us.
* We had a special time in Phoenix at the memorial service for my mother.
* Adults and children are leaving unhealthy habits and are experiencing closeness to God and their families.
* We have been healthy and joyful in our work.
* That clients will have the faith to believe those who have hurt them can truly change.
* That our small group members will experience new dimensions of vibrant faith.
* For children from broken or unsettled families to have emotional and spiritual buoyancy.
 Proverbs 15:14, 20:27; Proverbs 18:13; John 14:25, 26
 Psalm 138:8; Proverbs 19:21