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Top 10 Evangelism Mistakes, Number 3

Not Listening

A few years ago I met a homeless man. I soon discovered that he was very lonely and just needed someone to talk to. He told me his story and I listened—sometimes for hours at a time. This man ultimately gave his life to Jesus. I am convinced that part of the reason he did is because I listened to him.

Listening—really listening—lets others talk about their frustrations and discouragements, and shows them that we really care. Our research revealed that a caring person has an incredible influence on unbelievers and is an ingredient in leading someone to Jesus.

Have you ever wanted to just vent your feelings to someone? You didn’t necessarily want a quick fix or a critical commentary; you just wanted to know that someone cares about you. We can be gracious with others by not adding our two cents.

Others can tell if we are not listening. If our eyes look around the room or glance at other people we are not being good listeners. Also, thinking about what to say when others are speaking is not really listening. It is only hearing.

Listening does not mean that we have to agree with everything people say. Sadly, many people have been harshly condemned by parents, bosses or peers, and have been left feeling worthless and defenseless.

If we listen to others, they will feel freer to express themselves and share personal matters with us. They will trust us, and they will be more willing to follow our leadership in the discipling process.

Listening to others will also bless us. As I talked with my homeless friend, I became aware of being fascinated by his stories. And I left feeling happier and more fulfilled. Who knows? Maybe God placed him in my path to bless both of us and give us greater faith in Him.

Are you able to listen to others without criticizing them or constantly thinking about how to respond? What can you do to develop a habit of listening?

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