After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. – Luke 2:46

Jesus is amazing. Even as a 12 year old, he astonished others. A passion of mine is counseling and I am constantly learning from the Master Counselor himself, Jesus. Let’s learn a few lessons from him as a 12 year old!

Jesus Listens

His parents were confused…where is Jesus? They were on their way home after an exhausting festival time in Jerusalem and Jesus was nowhere to be found. So after a few days of searching, they found him, sitting with the smartest guys of the city – the elders. Was he playing marbles, eating ice cream, or riding his bike? No. He was listening to them, asking them questions, and growing in his understanding of the human condition, and it astonished his parents. Let’s examine Jesus and learn how to better help each other.

Jesus listens. The very Son of God stops to listen. He wants to know what and how we think. He’s curious. Jesus was an excellent listener. Even his little brother James, who said we should be “quick to listen and slow to speak” thought so. Where did James learn that? He grew up in a home with a listening Jesus. James watched Jesus listen to his parents, to his relatives, and to the hurting. Here are a few features of good listening:

Be a humble listener: Take a stance of “not knowing” when others are speaking. Be curious in your heart to hear the perspectives of another’s world. Don’t prepare your responses as another is speaking. Clear your mind and heart out, so you are able to bring in your friend’s story and learn their perspective on the problem.

Park your judgements long enough to get to the heart of the matter: Too often we quickly respond to others’ sharing and cut off their ability to fully share their heart. When you hear something that bothers you or something that may be be right, hold off your comments and allow them to continue to speak. Park your judgements.

To answer before listening— that is folly and shame. – Proverbs 18:1

Give your friend the safe and confidential space to plumb some of the depths of their heart. You’ll be surprised at how much more you will learn when you park your judgements and continue to listen. Once your friend has had ample time to share, then you may respond with a question like, “Tell me more” or “Can you help me to understand what you just said?” There will always be time later to share your thoughts and a helpful Scripture to correct what you’ve heard.

Listen for lies: Often, we get into our dysfunctions by believing lies and structuring our lives by lies. In psychology, those lies are called cognitive distortions. Christians know them as lies and we know where they come from – our enemy, Satan. But a good listener picks up on lies and can gently confront those lies.

When we are personally sensitive to the Word of God, we’re able to hear how lies hurt our friends’ lives. We can say, “Wait, What?” or “Can you help understand what you just said?” Listening for and clearing up insidious lies can be of great benefit to others. The Word of Truth is a powerful antidote to the lies of Satan.

In Part 2, we discuss other counseling features of this amazing 12 year old and his listening skills.

The church setting is the the perfect place for recovery. Learn how to set up a Disciples In Motion weekend visit with Tim. It includes many different opportunities for mental health trainings in the church setting. Click here for more information.