Excuse the silly title. It has next to nothing to do with this blog post, but it got your attention :)
It really bugs me when someone asks me a question or when I'm telling someone a story and they do not give me their undivided attention. I pay everyone I talk to with that respect and not receiving it in return is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. If you don't feel like I'm important enough for you to stop talking for a whole minute while I get a chance to speak, we most likely will never be friends. Letting someone talk while you just focus on their words is one of the greatest kindnesses you can pay a person.
I have a friend that will make you feel like 100 bucks just simply because he listens to what you're saying, looks you in the eye when you're talking, and asks you questions. We aren't really close at all, but I feel like he has invested in my life after talking about the simplest of things simply because he pays everyone he talks to with the kindness of listening to their words. It's really important to me. Nothing ruins a moment like when you're telling someone a story and they turn to someone else and start talking or interrupt you to tell their own story or with just a random thought. I'm telling you, nothing in this world makes me feel more worth it than when people listen to me, even if it's a 30 second conversation. It's important.
It's also important for us Christians. We can't expect someone to allow us to invest in their lives if we don't hear them out. There is no other way to make someone feel worthy for the love of Christ than just looking at them when they're talking and not interrupting. If we as Christians paid this simple decency to someone we are trying to witness to, how much more likely are they to come to church with us? How much more willing will they be to listen to us tell the Gospel if we have already taken the liberty to listen to them first?
There is a very loving bible-thumper that frequently visits my college campus to bring the great news of hell to all the open-minded college students walking to class. (Please tell me you picked up on all my sarcasm- He's a crazy, mean man and college students are, contrary to popular belief, some of the least open-minded people out there). This man stands on a concrete pillar, screams at students, and then allows students to come talk to him. Basically what this means is he allows them to bicker with him. He lets them ask him a question, cuts them off before they're done to put in his lengthy response, and when it's their turn to respond again, he does the exact same thing. You can imagine how effective his visits are. Students don't feel heard or wanted, and all this man accomplishes doing is turning people who may have been won over for Christ away because now they associate all Christians with this crazy man who does not give two flips about what they have to say.
This is not who we are. Jesus was a teacher, but he also was very much a listener. He promises to be a shoulder to cry on, a shelter. You can't cry on someone's shoulder who isn't willing to listen to your sob story. Jesus listens. God listens. We were made to listen twice as much as we are talking. There is nothing that will make a person feel more worthy, loved, important. It's an easy thing to do to show the love of Christ. And it's just a human decency.
So try to have an intentional conversation with someone today. Look them in the eye, ask questions. This conversation needs not to last over 2 minutes unless you want it to, but I promise it will be the highlight of someone's day.