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Ep. 461 How to Listen to Others Without Being Swayed by Them

Ep. 43 How to Listen to Others Without Being Swayed by Them

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Shows Main Idea – Listening to someone to understand them does not mean we have to accept their views or follow their perspectives. We listen to people to learn from them to understand and help them. If we do not know them well, we cannot help them. How can we listen to people who believe differently from us but not allow them to convince us of their views or follow their ideology?

Show Notes

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Member Question

I recently read the article, Engagement Without Understanding Leads to Violence. The article’s main thrust seemed to be to listen to others different from us and step into their stories. By doing this, we will better understand and better sympathize with those different from us. I agree 100% with these thoughts. However, I’m wondering how we balance a verse like James 1:19, which calls us to listen, with a verse like, “Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them” (Hebrews 13:9).

I want to listen to those who have different viewpoints, but I also don’t want to fall into the trap of stepping so far into their shoes that I accept things to be true that aren’t true about God or the world. I tend to be a pretty critical person, and I don’t want this to stop me from being able to listen to those around me. But I also don’t want to lose my sense of critical thinking for the sake of listening, thus falling into false belief systems, however small that might be. How can I free myself up to listen and engage with those who are different from me in a loving and understanding way without slipping into laziness with my thinking? – Supporting Member

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Biblical Listening

  • Listen on two levels
    • The Illuminating Spirit primarily
    • The person speaking with you secondarily
  • Entering their story but not turning off discernment
  • God listens, but we do not manipulate or manage Him

But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind (Job 23:13-14).

  • Listening without manipulation filters out bad actors while creating respect from those who perceive your discernment and courage
  • Without engaging those who have different views, you cannot know their beliefs or present better arguments
  • Consider this process: enter, listen, understand, filter, interpret, adjust (your perspectives), correct (theirs), agree/refute, and present (better arguments).

Courageous Listening

  • Listening to another person who might be hostile to our views takes courage.
  • Listening to another person requires biblical sympathy, not empathy.

Direct Video Messages

Call to Action

If a person is afraid of getting lost in another person’s story and/or being easily swayed by their story (their arguments), there are a few things to consider:

  1. Do you lack biblical discernment? Explain your answer. If so, what is your specific plan to change?
  2. Do you struggle with fear of man? Consider taking our No More Fear course.
  3. Do you have folks who can help you stay in line with the Bible? Who is your Paul—a mature, mentoring friend?
  4. Do you tend to empathize? What is the difference between sympathy and empathy?
  5. Do you know how to filter anti-biblical thoughts through the grid of Scripture?

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