Listening for God in other people's stories is an important spiritual practice. Jesus said we would meet him in the stories and faces of the naked, the hungry, the imprisoned, the outcast, the sick, and the suffering. Jesus consistently revealed God's mercy, compassion, and justice as he touched the untouchable, the outcast, and the unlovable. He invites us to do the same.
Steps for Receiving A Person's Story
- Prepare ahead of time to receive the stories that you will hear. Choose to focus on the person speaking and be attentive to what God might be saying to you through this person's story.
- It is normal to sometimes experience judgment or impatience with the person speaking. Be aware of such thoughts and let them go. They do not define your listening; they are just normal distractions.
- Receive the story with a grateful heart. Reject the impulse to counsel the one sharing the story unless invited to do so.
- If the person sharing desires your input, then you are free to offer it. However, it is not to be expected of one another.
Encounters with People
In addition to hearing another person's story, sometimes you can listen for God in others by reflecting on encounters you had with people throughout your day. Here are some questions to help you:
- What encounters with people who are different from me did I have today?
- What encounter made the deepest impression on me?
- What are my thoughts and feelings about this encounter?
- What do I sense Jesus might be saying to me in my encounters?