There is a tremendous need to listen to those suffering with mental illness.
Listening takes patience.
I believe it is a rule written somewhere, that self-centered people are simply not prepared to reach hurting people. You might say they don’t have the capability to become a good listener. One thing is certain, listening will change you. The more you do it, the better (and wiser) person you will become.
Listening to the disturbed takes work. You can become that catalyst for healing and wholeness. But you have to set aside your own agenda to do this.
Typically the mentally ill are intense communicators. Sometimes they can be delusional and seem incoherent. But your patience will pay off. Trust the Holy Spirit to strengthen you.
“Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.”
A Good Listener:
1. listens with spiritual ears open, hearing and understanding the spirit beneath the words;
2. listens with the heart and mind still and th e mouth shut;
3. listens with no personal agenda;
4. listens with compassionate spiritual eyes, maintaining involved eye contact;
5. listens with a compassionate heart;
6. listens with a committed heart;
7. listens with attentiveness;
8. listens without judgment;
9. listens without fear;
10. listens with faith, knowing that the Spirit of God is at work to will and do according to His good purpose;
11. waits patiently, quietly and prayerfully through times of silence, making room for the unfolding of things previously too deep and too painful to even know or express;
12. counts it a privilege to witness a soul in the process of transformation, even when it doesn’t look like it;
13. offers to explore options wisely;
14. offers to pray when the time of tears and sharing ends;
15. consoles with words of comfort and confidence in the faithfulness of God, which is usually all anyone needs to hear;
16. waits to give advice until asked;
17. offers a hug;
18. recognizes that these are holy moments of eternal consequence;
19. keeps all holy moments completely confidential.
20. doesn’t try to take the place of the Holy Spirit.
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
I have no clue where this list came from. But it is quite good and very thorough. I exhort you to really listen close to those with a disability. Forget about WWJD. Try HWJL.
(How Would Jesus Listen?)