The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His word, but also lends us His ear. He says, Christians especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something, when they’re in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking. Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. He who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Christian or not, I thinker these words contain a deep seated wisdom on how important it is for us to listen well.