Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply. (Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

Did your mother ever ask, “Didn’t you hear what I just said”? The correct answer probably is that yes, you heard, but you weren’t really listening. There is an art to listening. Covey is right on; in conversations, we are usually thinking about what we’re going to say next, rather than concentrating on what is being said. Many of us need to develop good listening habits.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen [and] slow to speak (James 1:19).