Friday, April 17, 2015

The Living Dead, Part Two

Yesterday, we began a new series where we take a little test and find out whether we're really dying to self.  Point number one was a tough one, but I do believe point number two is even worse.  Are you ready?

"When your advice is disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, and take it all in patient, loving silence--that is dying to self."

Oh dear!  Now, there are some people who give advice on every topic under the sun, and they do so in an arrogant, condescending way that drives everyone crazy.  If this describes you, then you may have some issues far beyond what we'll be discussing today.  For the rest of us, when we give advice, we do so in an effort to be helpful.  Our advice is not meant to overrule or undermine someone else.  We're simply trying to help by offering a suggestion.  And most of the time, we offer it with a "take it or leave it" attitude, right?

There are times, however, when we KNOW that our advice or opinion is worth taking into account.  We've been down that road.  We've walked the path before.  We know what lies at the other end.  And with that knowledge, we try to help others learn from our mistakes.  We advise, counsel and lead.  We offer suggestions based on our own personal experience with the very matter they're facing.  And sometimes, they heed our warnings.  But other times, we're totally ignored.

When that happens, I don't know about you, but my first reaction is to feel hurt and angry.  "Why did I bother?  Why did I pour out so much of my time and energy if they weren't going to listen to a thing I said?  Next time they can solve their own problems!"  And as you can see, that "patient, loving silence" thing ain't happening (and yes, I said "ain't").  Let's face it, when we're hurt and angry we have a tendency to voice that frustration to anyone who will listen (and sometimes we even tell God about it--sometimes).  We fuss.  We fume.  We yell and scream.  I mean, how dare they not listen to us, right?  Oh boy, oh boy!

There is nothing wrong with offering advice, provided it is done in a loving way.  There is no sin in offering opinion, again, if it is done with love.  But what we must understand is that once we've done that, our part is done.  We cannot make that person act in a certain way.  Only God controls that.  We have done our part, and we need to leave the rest up to God.  If that person chooses not to heed our advice, then instead of getting angry, we ought to pray for that person.  We need to pray that God will protect them and nudge their heart about the right path to take, whether that be the path we suggested or not.  God's will must be done, not ours.  And let's face it, they're not always the same, are they?

"When your advice is disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, and take it all in patient, loving silence--that is dying to self."

Well, how did you do on today's test?

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. - Romans 12:1

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