Recently, I was reading of a woman who was sharing with a small group about her chronic kidney disease. With tears, she talked about the trauma and the painful journey she was on. But as she was sharing, another individual interrupted and talked on and on about a health issue he had experienced in his own life. He probably meant well—perhaps he was trying to identify with the woman who was sharing about her pain—but he unknowingly hijacked the conversation and focused all the attention on himself.
Have you ever been guilty of hijacking a conversation? I know I have! Thankfully, our friends extend grace to us. But if we want to be better friends to others—caring for each other’s spiritual and emotional needs—allow me to share something truly simple: Pursue being a good listener. “My dear brothers and sisters," James, the half-brother of Jesus, tells us, "take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…” (James 1:19). What lovely advice!
This week, grow as an empathetic friend, spouse, parent, grandparent, neighbor, coworker, etc., by asking the Lord to help you grow as a good listener—the kind that resists hijacking conversations and keeps the focus on the other (Philippians 2:3-4). Remember: We don't need to always share about ourselves, but we can always give the rare gift of listening.