Listening: Our first duty to God and Neighbor

Two ears and one mouth, many have rightly observed that this innately places listening before speaking. We are to be hearers. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book Life Together captures the first duty of human beings to God and neighbor as an act of the ear.

“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for our brothers and sisters is learning to listen to them.”

This is on target—listening is an expression of love, honor and respect. It conveys authentic interest, the placing of another above our concerns.