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Listening is a Powerful Way to Show Love

An anonymous missionary in Japan uses the following illustration to show how we need to listen to people before we share the gospel.

A Japanese language instructor held up a cup filled to the brim with water and said:

“The Japanese are like this full cup. Their lives are very busy and full.” He held up the glass full of water. “We’ve got to be careful of pouring on the truth, as important, great, and glorious as it is. If you pour water into a cup that’s already full, where will that water go? Of course, it spills onto the floor.”

He said, “Sometimes in our zealousness to share the good news, we can overdo it, and we just pour it on. And then that opportunity—that water—is wasted because people’s cups are already full.

“But when you take time to listen,” and he took a sip out of the cup, “you’re now providing space. There’s now capacity for you to share something that’s going to impact their heart because now you know their story. Now you know what passage of Scripture to share or what encouraging word to say. Now you know how to pray for them because you’ve taken the time to listen.”

Preaching Angles: This principle is applicable to any culture. We love to talk about ourselves; it’s hard to listen. But listening is a powerful way to show love. Listening to people’s stories gives you credibility and trust so that when you do share something, it’s something that’s actually going to impact their hearts. You’re weaving their story in with Scripture. It’s not a canned response. It really is heartfelt, and the Holy Spirit can use that.

Source: Anonymous (as told to Martha Krienke), “Everyday Evangelism,” The Alliance (11-20-17)

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