Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. But the one who can no longer listen to his brother or sister will soon be no longer listening to God either; he or she will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life, and in the end there is nothing left but spiritual chatter and clerical condescension arrayed in pious words. One who cannot listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the point and be never really speaking to others, albeit he or she be not conscious of it. Any who think that their time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and their brothers and sisters, but only for the self and for their own follies.
…Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them by him who is himself the great listener and whose work they should share. We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.
–This piece originates in Bonhoeffer’s Life Together pp. 97-99, but was excerpted from A Testament to Freedom: The Essential Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, page 356.