30 Days of Encouragement - Day 22
I have a middle-aged friend who is always in trouble. If he is not in an argument with someone, then someone is provoking him to argue. It is easy to provoke him to argue because he believes he is always right.
The concept of peace seems foreign to my friend. He gets in trouble because he feels the need to respond to everything anyone says to him; The lady at the Subway, the man in the cleaners, the teenager at the bus stop. My friend thinks he has to correct everyone.
They don't ask him, he volunteers. And when they disagree with him, they find themselves in an argument. He is tall and loud and that makes him seem aggressive and threatening. He is just emotional. Underneath the loud and brash exterior is a gentle soul.
You know people like that. You may even be a person like that. (I hope I am not a person like that.)
When they have to, they will admit to making mistakes or, admit they are wrong. But in their heart, they still feel they are right. That is a disconnect. To have your mouth say one thing and your heart say another is confusion and division.
When your mouth and your heart are divided are you a liar? The adage is not, "If you don't have anything good to say then, make up a lie." The adage is, "If you don't have anything good to say then, say nothing at all."
Your mouth should be in agreement with your heart otherwise you are divided. Internally schizophrenic and all because of not taking the time to accept who you are.
What Is The Analysis?
Not that I am an expert, but I think my friend's problem is that he is afraid to listen, and he is afraid to be wrong. I don't think he ever learned how to listen. And, I suppose he thinks his world would crumble if he ever accepted that he was wrong about anything.
What it seems he doesn't know is that the opinions and ways of other people don't have to be the same as his. Hearing another's opinion helps us broaden and gives us more resources. I think my friend thinks his opinion is more that it is. I think my friend thinks his opinion defines him and is his identity.
Our identity is our identity. Our identity is not defined by the job we do. It is not defined by the relationships we have or don't have. And not by our volunteer work, or service to others. Our identity exists as the foundation for all of these things. Who are you? My friend doesn't know who he is.
Who Do You Say You Are?
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?"
I love this verse because in it Jesus is not asking for an identity. Jesus says who He is, The Son Of Man. He knows beyond a shadow of a doubt who He is.
His question to His disciples was an opportunity for them to recognize who He is. When you first read it you could casually assume that Jesus wants to know who the people around town say He is. That is what I thought. But, it could just as easily have been a direct question to the men standing before Him.
"Whom do men say that I am."
Not Like Us
have serious doubts that Jesus cared what others thought of Him. He knew who He was. He knew His purpose and, He focused fully on these two things. Nothing was going to deter Him from being Himself or from fulfilling His purpose.
What About Us?
Do we live our lives based on who we say we are or on who others say we are? Think about your last few decisions. Were they finalized because of someone else's opinion?
Of course, we need to have the input of trusted friends, and colleagues, when making certain decisions but that input should be for informational purposes and not act as the final piece in the decision-making process.
Who Told You Had To?
Who told you you had to talk all of the time? Who told you had to answer every question or comment on every issue? We don't have to talk all of the time. We don't have to answer everyone's questions. And, we don't have to comment on anything we don't want to comment on. When you know who you are, you are not compelled to prove who you are.
Growth comes through correction. Being wrong is not the end of your world. Being wrong will not stop people from respecting you and loving you. Being wrong and seeing it will gain you respect.
Just Who Are You?
If my friend knew who he was and was comfortable with himself, things would be different for him. He would be able to listen without feeling insecure. He would hear the opinions of others and not feel the need to respond. And, he might learn something.
Today, I purpose to practice listening with my whole heart. I want to hear the things that I don't know. I want to grow. What about you?
[Be Blessed Proverbs 4:7]