I am a good listener.  I not only hear what is being said to me, but interact with questions and thoughts shared with the hope of making the talker evaluate what it is they are saying and consider whether or not it is logical, rational, truthful, or born only out of emotion. 

Being a good listener is perhaps easier when I am not directly involved in the situation being talked about. It is then far more simple to maintain objectivity, and not fuel the discussion with comraderie nor opposition.

Being a good listener is so difficult when the stakes are high, and my hands are tied by confidentiality requests; when it seems like the truth should be told, the details hashed out, and yet it is not my tale to tell.  Respecting the privacy of those who share with me  is of the utmost importance in being a good listener. 

I have been tripped up in this area, perhaps only a handful of times, but to the detriment of trust, and relationship.  Both of which have been rebuilt over time, both of which I am not quick to risk damaging again. 

And so I tread lightly.  Listening.  Processing.  Praying.  Grappling with my own thoughts about the situation while listening to the thoughts and concerns of those involved. 

And just when I questions myself, do I really have a grasp on this situation or have I too become  emotionally involved?’:

It is then the Lord brings confirmation.  A voice never heard before; a talker with whom I have no previous relationship.  And so I listen, intently, to another perspective. And the Lord confirms, He has given me wisdom, He has given me insight, discernment perhaps, my concerns are valid. 

And yet it is still, not my tale to tell.  And so quietly I listen, for a still small voice, that will give me my tale to tell, and permission to tell it.