Overcome Three Problems of Careless Listening

Research reveals that the average person spends 45% of their day listening. Listening is the communication skill we use the most. We listen to the conversations around us and we listen to the rattle of the words in our heads. We listen, but how much do we hear?

How do we overcome problems with careless listening?

Overcome three problems of careless listening to get make the most of God's wisdom.

Be careful how you listen.

You can hear without listening, but you cannot listen without hearing.

“Did you hear me?”

My thoughts scramble like a herd of cats in my head, each one going a different direction. Too late, I realize I’m half-listening to those around me. Listening but not truly hearing.

I’d like to say this is a tendency of a creative temperament, but really it is just a bad habit.

Without strong convictions and a deep desire to embrace truth, we all struggle to listen well.

Be careful how you listen. Jesus often taught about the importance of hearing God’s word.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear.--Luke 8:8.

In the well-known parable of the sower, Jesus teaches about four ways of listening.

How we listen matters.

Consider what the Parable of the Sower teaches us about hearing God’s truth.

Are we hearing God’s Word in a way that makes a difference?

If you aren’t familiar with the Parable of the Sower, take a moment to read Luke 8:4-18.

But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. Luke 8:15

Good-soil listening comes from hearing with a receptive mind. Receive truth with a desire to hold it firm in your heart. Listen and believe.  Remember and apply. These are the habits of a receptive heart that values God’s Word over all else. Embrace Truth and listen with patience as you wait for God’s Word to transform your thinking.

Overcome three problems of careless listening.

I’ve struggled with every one of these at times.

  1. Roadside Listening: hearing with a closed mind. A closed mind tramples truth with opinions and positions. When we listen with a closed mind, truth gets snatched away by disbelief or a lack of concern.
  • Be willing to listen to wisdom.
  • Don’t be over-confident you have all the answers.
  • Don’t make assumptions.


  1. Rocky-Soil Listening: hearing with shallow thinking that falls prey to temptation.  God’s word will not change us without strong convictions and a deep desire to embrace truth.  When the hard days come, lack of roots cause the impact of truth to wither.
  • Practice critical thinking skills: compare, contrast, evaluate, meditate, memorize.
  • Know what you believe and why it’s important.
  • Apply Truth to your life; don’t just talk about it.


  1. Thorny-Soil Listening:hearing with a distracted mind. These are the ones that hear but keep going their way. They listen, but distractions choke out the impact. Inventory your time and thought. How much of your time is consumed with worry, riches, or pleasures? Which one is the biggest distraction to you?

Resist the temptation to think about this parable as an isolated lesson. Keep reading.

Let God’s truth light up your life.

“Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.” Luke 8:16-17

Truth is seed for the soil and light for the soul.

Act on what you know and live what you believe. This is the light that shines through our thoughts, words, and actions. The light of truth reveals the dark of false beliefs, wounds, and sins tucked out of sight.

Overcome three problems of careless listening to make the most of God's word in your life.Live honest and brave by letting Christ shine truth in your hidden places.

This is good soil listening and lampstand living.

There is faith for salvation and truth for living each day. The attitudes of our minds, the habits of our attention, and the desires of our hearts impact how we live. Overcome the problems of careless listening for God’s truth to change your life.

What listening skills do you need to work on?



  1. This is SO good! I’ve been reading about listening lately and nowhere have I seen it linked to the Parable of the Sower. I’m going to be mulling this over for quite a while.

  2. Such a good reminder for us all to listen with the intent to hear and obey. Only then will our lives be changed by God’s truths.

  3. I think my listening skills are sometimes, shall we say, a bit rocky. I become distracted, even thinking about what I’m going to say before the person finishes. Sigh. Such great advice, Ginger. Thanks!

  4. Hi Ginger! Such great stuff here today!! Timely for me as I’m really working on this area of my life. I’m reading “The Listening Life” right now and wow it’s great.

  5. Ginger, I think I’ve been all of these listeners at one time or another depending on the person and the situation, yet I’ve never really processed the distinction. I appreciate you words and your challenge! Visiting from Jennifer’s and glad I did! Crystal~

  6. I love this: You can hear without listening, but you cannot listen without hearing. I read it three times! I am trying to be a better listener – so many distractions in this 21st Century! #41 and your neighbor at Jennifer’s today!

  7. “Apply Truth to your life; don’t just talk about it.” This is the message I’m hearing right now, Ginger. And God is graciously giving me opportunities to practice it too. 🙂 Glad to be your neighbor at Coffee for Your Heart today …

  8. Wise advice, Ginger! Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

  9. #3 is probably the one that gets me the most: being distracted while I listen. 🙁 Thanks for the reminder that we can DO better!

    • Ginger Harrington

      I know what you mean. I hate it when I’m meeting someone and I get distracted and then can’t remember their name. How many times do I miss what God is impressing in my heart when I’m distracted? Hope you have a lovely Easter. Thanks for joining us today.

  10. Thanks for this post. A good, convicting reminder to listen well to those I love the most. Thanks!

    • Ginger Harrington

      Thanks for joining the conversation today, Brooke. We have such a wonderful opportunity to learn and share together in these online spaces. I’m glad you stopped by for a visit. Blessings.

  11. I am definitely distracted by worry. Great words here!

    • Ginger Harrington

      Oh, I have so much I can say about that one. That’s the hardest one for me as well. Happy Easter, Sarah!

  12. Ginger,

    I am so glad you shared this at the #GraceMoments Link Up last week. I am a little late in visiting my friends, but late is better than never. You made me laugh with your comment about your brain and herding cats….:)

    I recently had a conversation with my daughter and it didn’t leave me feeling really good about my listening skills. I tend to be a fixer, especially with my kids, and when I listen I immediately go into ‘fixing mode’. She reminded me she just wanted me to HEAR her, not fix it.

    Your words reminded me of the value of seeing the whole picture and waiting a little in the responding.


    • Ginger Harrington

      It is SO easy to fall into “fix-it” mode, rather than listening with empathy. I have trouble with that as well. What a good example of an area of listening we can all take more care. May God guide your listening in your conversations with your daughter.

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