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Adescription of Event (objectively)

I was approached by amiddle- aged man with a common problem, yet in the real sense itseemed so difficult to resolve. As Justes (2006. p2) highlights,listening plays a pivotal role in ministry. As a result, it isimperative for one to listen especially in a counseling session.1 I therefore, set myself to pay attention to the man’s problem. Hebegan to narrate how he has had an affair for years with his boss whowas threatening to dismiss him if he does not divorce his wife. Ideally, one would advise the man to quit the job and look foranother workplace in order to keep his family together. A dreadfulaspect about the situation was that both the man and the lady wereinvolved in fabricated business deals that would result in a jailsentence. The boss also threatened to expose these businesstransactions. After a series of counseling sessions and intenseprayer, he finally quit his job, and surprisingly the mistress didnot disclose the issue, but rather, she moved to another state.

WhatI Felt About It (Subjectively)

Afterhearing the man’s story, my initial feeling was that his actionswere erroneous. I believed that he required immediate transformation.However, he had to face the consequences of his deeds. As the biblesays what you plant is what you reap. Nevertheless, I did not tellhim my thoughts, I just listened. I looked at his situation as onethat would have been prevented if he did not get entangled with hisboss. I honestly thought that this man was just among the manyvictims of the sinful nature that face humanity.

WhatI Learned About My Vulnerabilities

I finally learned that sometimes, I am very judgmental, which is aweakness that I need to overcome. After listening to the man’sproblem, my reaction to the incident depicted that I had alreadypassed judgment on him. My ethical principles influenced thisviewpoint. I think that it is important to keep off actions thatviolate the law. Conversely, as professionals in the field oftheology and religion, we are also not immune to unethical behavior.

Ialso realized that I value marriage. I believe that nothing shoulddestroy the institution. Keeping the marriage institution intact is afaith commitment that I endorse at all times. My greatest fear is toexpose children to the divorce environment which is rampant in oursociety. My weakness is that although I listen, I quickly passjudgments.

HowThis Learning Can Change Me Personally, Interpersonally andProfessionally

Thekey lessons derived from the encounter with the man have changed mein many ways. Personally, I have realized the significance of takingthe role. Justes(2006, exercise 5) presents the idea of putting yourself in theperson’s shoes.2This primarily involves reciprocity and empathy. 3Ithink that this knowledge has changed my perspective. I haverecognized that despite the values that I hold, it is important notto pass judgment, but rather, it is essential to wear the person’sshoes. This step will eliminate the adverse verdicts that we pass onothers.

Thestandpoint by Justes that involves taking up the role has changed myprofessional approach to handling issues. In my future pastoralcounseling sessions, I intended to do research, so as to find outabout the person’s experience.4I think it is pivotal to get firsthand information, not about theindividual, but about the experience that one is going through.

Atan interpersonal level, I learned that listening is a significantskill that one has to cultivate. I listened to this man carefully andmost of the time he opened up gracefully to me. According to Justes(2006, p3), listening has a life-discovering and life-giving power.When a person is encouraged and heard, the individual can find theirway. 5


From the incident, I learned that hearing beyond the words isessential. It can actually solve problems. I therefore intended tobuild this quality in my future practice.


Justes,E. J. HearingBeyond the Words: How to Become a Listening Pastor.Abingdon, 2006.

1 Justes, E. J. Hearing Beyond the Words: How to Become a Listening Pastor. Abingdon, 2006.

2 Ibid 1(Exercise 5)

3 Ibid 1- ( Exercise 5)

4 Ibid 1 – ( Exercise 5)

5 Ibid 1 ( Page 3)