I've heard a good share of cliche sayings in my day and one of the ones that stands out as being a genuine pearl of wisdom has been "Seek first to understand, then to be understood" The more and more I think about that motto the more I realize that not only is that a pretty strong biblical precept, but I think that is a great evangelistic technique.
How can we gauge where a person is at, without listening to their heart. IF there is someone dealing with say, an issue of depression, then a response detailing the specifications of the wardrobe of the levitical priesthood may not be the best and most uplifting scripture to share with them. I know personally in my past I have started to try and explain the deep part of an issue that I have struggled with, only to have someone who is supposed to be listening, talking about points that aren't the subject that I am trying to address. Its like it says in the book of proverbs verse 18:13 He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame. Truthfully, when they jumped the gun and didn't show the patience in trying to get to the heart of what I was dealing with, I began to see myself as someone taking up their time, a burden, and just someone that needed to be dealt with instead of someone who needed love and understanding.
How can we really hear what is going on in a persons life, or if they are in a place to hear the word of God, unless we listen. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, giving us an insight in the the pain, trials, or whatever. Don't get angry if it takes ten minutes or two hours to get a word in, because in listening we give of the patience and character of Christ who bears our burdens. It isn't about us, its about meeting them where they are at.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of
this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to
become angry - James 1:19