When we hear of another person struggling in their daily life or their walk of faith, we are so often quick to jump in head first, providing solutions and answers. But, how often do we truly take the time to listen?
How often do we take the time to shut our mouths and pray, and really listen to God and to our troubled family and friends?
It's all too easy to find ourselves in a position where we feel we know more about a subject than someone else. We feel we are more "mature", and dare I say, we think we are a bit superior to them.
And I have found myself caught in that trap, that cycle, of just blurting out advice to anyone and everyone who passed my way with any kind of real issue in their lives, as if human answers were all they needed, and I had them all. In fact, I'm pretty sure I did that very thing today, ugh.
That's called PRIDE. That big, fat, ugly word that none of us wants to label ourselves with, but we all have it.
Listening with Grace
When I take a step back and look at the people in my life who have been the most grace-filled toward me and my family, they are the ones who I can go to with any problem, and I can expect them to really listen to me.
They will not blurt out answers and solutions. They will not treat me as if I am having difficulties because my faith is weak, or my practices are not "godly" enough.
They will just listen and pray with me, and show me grace, and be my friend.
"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger." ~ James 1:19
The Source of Wisdom
In pride of our own knowledge and experience, we all have plenty of earthly wisdom to give those around us. In our foolishness, we forget a relationship with Christ is the true source of wisdom and comfort in times of uncertainty and pain.
Instead of pointing others to the grace and peace that passes all understanding, we point them toward tips, techniques, lists, and legalism.
But our own wisdom and advice is useless, if it stands alone. For the true source of wisdom comes from somewhere outside of ourselves.
"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy." ~ James 3:17Becoming mature in Christ, of wise counsel, is not about gaining in our own understanding, but in gaining in faith and our own reliance on grace to carry us through life.
For only then can we learn to extend that grace to others, bypassing the knowledge and wisdom of the world, and pointing others toward the true source of wisdom, healing, and strength.
And in the process, we get to be humble, and pray with them, show them grace, and be their friend, just as Christ has done for us.
“Just as the sinner’s despair of any hope from himself is the first prerequisite of a sound conversion, so the loss of all confidence in himself is the first essential in the believer’s growth in grace.” ~ A. W. Pink