Last week, I talked about letting go of your own stubbornness. This week, I’m talking about helping someone else let go of his/her stubbornness. Sometimes, people do not want to let go. You know the drill. You know how it feels to cling to something. It’s hard to say goodbye to a dearly loved object/habit/lifestyle because someone told you it was a good idea.
Which is harder—getting advice or giving it?
Probably getting it.
That’s something important to remember when you’re giving advice/instruction/direction—it’s always easier to give than to get.
Sometimes, people just need a push in the right direction. When you see a friend who’s headed down the wrong path, it’s important to lead them back to the right path.
But it’s easier said than done.
Because PEOPLE ARE STUBBORN.
I have a friend who has been on the same path for about a year or two. She suddenly had an interest in working out, running, and not eating junk food.
But my friend wasn’t overweight. She surely didn’t get advice from her doctor to start a diet program.
So she was starting a diet on her own?
Many girls do, but most of them shouldn’t.
I’ve tried to tell her she doesn’t need to diet. I’ve tried to tell her she’s perfect just the way she is.
But whenever I do, I feel like my words are going in one ear and out the other.
How discouraging. How disappointing.
But then I have to imagine being in my friend’s shoes. If I was her, would I want to change my ways if a friend told me I didn’t need to diet? Would I believe my friend if she said I was beautiful just the way I was?
The hard truth is that we are stubborn human beings who have a sin nature and want to do what we want to do. It’s hard to stop a charging bull in his tracks.
But you gotta try.
Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances (Proverbs 25:11).
Maybe your friend is just waiting for someone to tell him that he needs to quit living a double life by drinking on Saturday nights and coming to church on Sunday mornings.
Maybe your brother is waiting for someone to tell him that they’re concerned about his porn addiction and his spiritual well-being.
Maybe your sister is waiting for someone to tell her that she has seemed really stressed lately and that she should consider cutting down on her hours at work to spend more time with her family.
Maybe that someone should be you.
Even if you’ve tried to tell them before, it doesn’t hurt to try again. Maybe your friend has thought about it and just needs one more little push before he changes his mind about his behavior.
Be the little (and loving) push.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love (Ephesians 4:14-16).
The body of Christ is not going to grow unless we speak the truth in love.
I hope my friend sees the truth about herself. I hope she realizes how loved and how beautiful she is and that she isn’t overweight.
I can’t force her to change her thoughts or actions.
But I can pray for her, and I can speak the truth in love.
Don’t feel like a failure if someone you care about doesn’t listen to your advice or outwardly show appreciation for your concern. Though it may feel like you’re being rejected, you never know what God is doing in his/her heart. Maybe He is using your encouragement so he/she will change. Only that person can make a choice to change. Only God’s work in their heart will make them live differently.
You can’t change them.
But you can be there for them and pray for them and keep telling them the truth.
Sometimes they’ll listen, and other times they won’t. You’re not in charge of that. Just keeping doing what you can do, and you may be surprised at the results.