Listening a meaningful way to show kindness

Last time we established that the starting point to kindness is to ask God to open the eyes of our hearts so that we will be in a better position to see and understand the needs of the people around us.

Kindness begins with sensitivity. It starts with awareness and by observing what’s happening in people’s lives.

It’s not always easy to see the needs of other people, especially when they’re on the other side of the road like the priest and the Levite in Luke 10:30-37. But the starting point of kindness is in the way we see things. It starts with sensitivity.

The Good Samaritan also helps us see how to sympathize with people’s pain. It’s not enough to just see the need.

We must learn to sympathize with the pain others are feeling.

In Luke 10:33, the Samaritan came upon a man who had been beaten and robbed. First, he saw the man. Then he took pity on him. His heart was engaged. If sensitivity begins with your eyes, then sympathy begins with your ears. Sometimes kindness is as simple as learning to listen.

In “A View From the Hearse,” Joe Bailey shares an experience about losing a loved one.

He says, “I was sitting, torn by grief, and somebody came along and talked to me about God’s dealings of why it happened, of hope beyond the grave. He talked constantly. He said things I knew were true. But I was unmoved, except to wish that he would go away. And he finally did. Then another one came and sat beside me, and he didn’t talk at all. He didn’t ask me any leading questions. He just sat beside me for an hour or more, listened when I said something, answered briefly, prayed simply and left. I was moved. I was comforted. I hated to see him go.”

Listening is a meaningful way to show kindness.

Sympathy meets two of our basic needs; the need to be understood and the need to have our feelings validated.

We all like to be heard. We long to be listened to. We like to be shown sympathy.

It is a meaningful act of kindness, and it is something we can all do. Is there someone you need to actively listen to today? Are there people in your realm of influence who need to be shown sympathy?

Will you take the time to do for them what you would want them to do for you if you were in their shoes?

You can read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at steve@gotothepoint.com.