Sometimes it is difficult to listen to a different point of view. One time I was driving with my new bride after about six months of marriage. It was in January and the road was covered with a kind of slushy, frozen, icy stuff. Sharing her point of view with me, Brenda said, “Please drive slowly and please be careful.”
It was a Saturday so I was also reminded, “We are in no hurry.” I expressed in the most endearing way that I could muster, “Everything is fine, and I am being real careful.” I tried to reassure her that I had everything under control.
I am sure I am not the only one who has gone ahead with an impulse despite a friend or family member’s counsel. It may have been a business proposal you should have rejected, a purchase you should not have made, or a relationship you should have been more careful about. When those people who are close to us push back on our ideas, it can be frustrating and discouraging. How should we handle such input?
The Bible supplies great insight about how to handle negative or unfavorable responses by challenging us to deal with it on our side of the equation.
First of all, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:17). Pride is having an excessively high opinion of one’s self and one’s importance that can lead to a superiority complex. Are we trustworthy in the face of every decision? Are we impeccable in every choice that we make? I am guessing that you are like me and the answer is NO! The Bible teaches here that arrogantly thinking we are perfect and faultless ultimately leads to the slippery road of destruction. We need to go through life with the mindset, “I do not have all the answers.”
Secondly, receiving counsel is the way of success. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). We need to train ourselves to receive counsel from others. This does not mean we need to “do” everything we are advised to do, but by accepting the expressions of others and mulling it over, we are helping to refine and firm up the further steps that will be taken. I heard a leader friend of mine say this one time and it stuck, “Norm, you need another set of eyes on that.”
Not only do we need to receive the counsel of others, in addition, we need to encourage them to give feedback. Others can help us think about situations and circumstances in a new light that can help us on the road to success.
Are you going through life willful and stubborn? Do you think you have all the answers? It is easy to wind up in that ditch, but it is a side road away from success. Maybe it is time for you to admit to God that you do not know it all and you need some of his help. I want to encourage you to develop an attitude of receiving what others have to say.
Can you envision what would happen in our families, neighborhoods and workplaces if you and I humbly began listening to the insights of others? Our friends and family would be touched that we care what they have to say and it may help us keep it on the road.
Norm Byers (Twitter @NormByers) is the lead pastor of Genesis Church, with two locations meeting Sundays at 9:30 a.m. at Petoskey Middle School and 11 a.m. at Boyne City Elementary. More information is online at www.genesiswired.com.