Sometimes someone will succinctly craft words which capture our attention and speak to our hearts. The above quote caught my attention when some close friends of our visited one evening.
Live without pretending. No one likes a hypocrite. No one likes finding out that what one believed about a person was completely false. The deception is devastating and can render the relationship irreparable. What we want is honesty. Or perhaps, what we really want is honesty tempered with love. We desire that our acquaintances, friends, teachers, even our doctors be frank with us. We want to know the truth, however unpalatable it may initially appear. If loving honesty is what we desire from others, then why do we lean towards society’s habit of the “little white lie”? Why? A little lie may seem expedient, kinder, less troublesome. But, in the end, it labels the teller as one who is less than honest and trustworthy. So, make it your goal to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Love without depending. A tiny baby is completely dependent upon its mother - as God designed and intends it. But if we remain completely dependent upon those we love, then the relationship is very one-sided. It is one giving and one taking. There is incredible burden and responsibility upon a person who supports dependents! It is not the mutual building up of one another for the glory of God. Furthermore, it’s not allowing God to develop you into all you can be as a competent vessel, useful for His purposes. We must learn to love wholeheartedly, not expecting anything in return.
Listen without defending. How good are you at listening to someone’s criticism of you without putting in your excuses? It is really hard to be quiet and really absorb what someone else is saying. We tend, I tend, to jump quickly to my own defense. I see the direction of their comments. I want to justify myself, or I offer the excuses for why I have acted in a certain way or why I have a certain characteristic as part of my character. It is very hard, especially when it’s someone close, to listen, to really listen to what they are saying. We want others to think well of us.
However, if it is truly someone close, their criticisms cannot be easy for them to voice. They love me; they are speaking out of their love for me. If it is not someone close who is speaking, it’s still wise to listen and evaluate whether they are accurate. If God can use a donkey to correct, He certainly can use someone you don’t necessarily know well or perhaps don’t even like.
Consider, too, instances when someone is speaking to you about their ideas. They aren’t criticisms of you, per se, but they are ideas contrary to those you hold. If you cannot listen without putting in your own thoughts, you are not truly listening. Your efforts are concentrated in making sure they see your views on the subject. This truly is disrespectful and shortsighted. How is it possible to ever learn anything without listening, intently, intentionally, with an open mind to the thoughts of others?
Speak without offending. Our goal must be gentle speech, speaking the truth in love. But there comes a time when our words will offend others simply because our words are true. Remember, Jesus offended people around Him! It’s also important to remember that we should not be easily offended ourselves (Ps 119:165).
I like reading quotes from other people. I like evaluating what they’ve said and comparing their ideas to the gold standard: the Bible. Sometimes a quote can throw a different light on a familiar idea and serve to convict us as we interact with others. Our goal is to glorify God in everything we think, say and do. Regardless of how our daily contacts react to us, our conduct and words should be such that everyone will give God the glory on the day He visits us (1 Peter 2:12).
How do you live, love, listen and speak?
Volume 12 Issue 3 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review
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