So, you see someone – your friend, co-worker, family member- doing something you think is really stupid. It irks you, concerns you, or just plain drives you crazy.
When do you say something?
CAN you say something?
Will it do any good anyhow?
If God says, “Don’t judge others, because in the way you give it out, it will be given back to you”, does this say we should never comment when we see our acquaintances doing things that cause problems?
The Bible goes on to say in Matthew 7, that we need to check our own face first. Often, what accuse others of doing, is what we ourselves are guilty of doing.
Are you seeing incorrectly, however, even if you may be doing the same thing yourself? Not likely. You probably see very accurately. So, here are the questions to ask yourself:
What is my motivation for judging? What do I hope to achieve by my criticism?
If your answer is, “Because I’m ticked off, and they really bug me with their behavior!” don’t look for change anytime soon.
If your answer is, “Because, for the health of this relationship, and to see them succeed in life, I’d like to see them conquer this non-constructive habit. Perhaps there is something I can offer in order to help them progress.” Now, there are grounds for change.
So, what is a strategy you can use?
God wants genuine prayers, from those with a heartfelt desire for constructive change.
Well, first of all, the Bible gives a few clues in Matthew 7.
First – and sometimes saddest – is to Find out if the person is even interested to modify their destructive habits. If there is zero awareness of their need, or no desire to conduct themselves in a better way, then vs 6 implies, “Don’t even bother investing good material in a bad destination. It’s a waste of worthwhile time and effort, and even a risk to your safety”. There is a time to persist, a time to walk away, AND a time to leave the subject alone and work your strategy for awhile. However, most of us give up FAR too quickly and easily. (More on this subject in another blog.)
Second – Ask God for help in this situation. He wants their success even more than you do. Sincere prayers offered for another person’s prosperity, are regarded by God.
Learn what you can do, that will bring life –not destruction to every person involved in the situation. Ask God for His wisdom to teach you and bring answers. He is for you, not against you.
Persist – don’t give up easily. Keep asking, educate yourself, keep looking for your clues, keep your eyes open, pursuing what is right and good. God wants genuine prayers, from those with a heartfelt desire for change.
Ask, seek, persist. This is the second strategy.
Thirdly, realize that if you know how to give good things to those in need – especially your own family – then God knows even more so how to provide for our necessities.
Realize and believe He wants to give you the answers you need, because He is a good God.
The Golden Rule
Lastly, what you want others to do for you, you do for them. For example, if you want respect from someone who treats you with contempt, then offer respect to them. If someone is selfish, or greedy, offer generosity. Treating your enemy in the opposite way they treat you, goes a long way towards breaking off an unacceptable or painful circumstance. This is VERY counter-intuitive, as we humans are more inclined to react and fight back with vindictive vengeance!
Responding in the opposite attitude is a very acquired skill. It requires much practise and diligence. However, if our attitude is set to see productive – not destructive – progress, this skill can be the game-changer.
So, in summary:
- Observe – does this person really want to change?
- Ask God, Keep looking for answers, Persist – don’t give up – unless there is clearly no other answer.
- Realize God is on the side of those who work to do right, and stick to the process.
- Do for others what you want them to do for you.
Remember, feelings will never remain consistent – Choice does. True love for others is not an emotion. It is a decisive action first, and then the affection will follow. If we understand this dynamic alone, most of our relationships will change for the better.