The Art of Listening

So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick

Matthew 14:14
Isaiah 55:1-3; Psalm 145:8-9,15-18; Romans 8:35,37-39; Matthew 14:13-21

“Contact Community Helplines” is an organization founded on the belief that ordinary people can be trained to care and to heal. It has built a vast network of telephone workers in cities all over the world. Twenty-four hours a day the telephones are staffed by trained volunteers who receive calls from people reaching out for help, reaching out for another human being who will really listen to them, reaching out for another human being who will really identify with their problem — reaching out for another human being who will relate to them on the level of genuine concern.

As Christians, we recognize the model for this ministry is Jesus Christ. Therefore, the volunteer training (which is extensive) emphasizes that this ministry is person-centered; that it is the relationship that counts. It is within this context that preaching and lecturing and passing judgment are forbidden. The volunteers are trained to overcome the temptation to “preach to” by developing the willingness to “listen to,” thus…

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