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Offering A Sympathetic Ear to Just Listen

Posted Feb 26 2014 9:00am

“Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none” (Psalm 69:20).

Often we want to encourage, offer advice, or come up with a solution to someone’s difficulty or pain. But I have learned that sometimes all a person wants or needs is someone to listen, to offer a sympathetic ear to their troubles.

No one likes to hear endless complaining, and constant complaints help no one, especially the one doing the complaining. Yet there are times when we are so overloaded with worry and cares and pain and problems that we need to find someone willing to listen to our troubles. Sometimes simply sharing our problems lightens the load we are carrying.

I probably err on the side of not being willing to share my problems. Yet there have been times that by sharing my concerns a word of wisdom, or comfort, or peace, will come that helps release my cares. And sometimes simply increasing the power of prayer directed at a problem, multiplying the prayer warriors, breaks through a barrier to a solution. Prayers move God to action.

There are those poor souls who think they must share their every thought and concern with others. That is not good for the worried person or their listeners. That kind of endless worrying and complaining is not useful. Yet for most of us who are reluctant to share our burdens with others, we must not let pride or foolishness keep us from the concern and comfort others would offer us.

This week you may come across someone who simply needs to bend your ear for a few minutes with their concerns. I would encourage you not to reach for pat answers or a quick “I’ll pray for you” then brush them aside. Listen, truly listen to their concerns, and just let them know that you care and understand.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to be swift to hear, and slow to speak, especially for the one needing a sympathetic ear. Amen.

About the Author Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. He is grateful for the many souls who have been willing to give a sympathetic ear to his problems.

Are you willing to set aside your pride and share your burden? Are you willing to listen to the burdens of others?

What does a real friend need? Someone’s presence–that is all. I think this song will touch you, because we have all had one of those days when we wanted nothing–even from Jesus–accept for Him to “Hold Me Whole I Cry”–the name of the song, with Karen Peck and New River. Hope it blesses you today. -Lisa

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