Ever notice most problems seem to defuse themselves if you could just do one simple thing. Just do this thing that another person wants you to do. Change yourself. Improve yourself. Make life much more bearable for the rest of us. Show more gratitude. Just be different than who you really are. If only you acted holier. If only you smile more. If only you looked more presentable. We all have these numerous expectations that if this person could just do this one thing, I could be, well, fill in the blank with the thing you want to be.
Here is the thing. Sure God loves us as we are but he loves us enough not to leave us that way. Did the Holy Spirit nudge you to do this change? If we did all these things to please others we are a puppet on a string. We are fragile in living for others only and not for God. I think if we are to live for God we are to try to understand other people’s perspectives. Where are they really coming from? How can I best walk with that person? By requiring them to change or is it maybe having a heart of compassion. A heart more similar to Jesus.
Sure I give out plenty of advice and I think it is solid. I also get my fair share of advice. Let me walk you through why sometimes I or others do not follow through. You know for understanding purposes.
You should smile more. I agree I should find more things that make me happy. Although, you may not actually mean that. What you may mean is just simply that “smile more”. That is the magic solution. Like it is suppose to happen cause you willed it. Let me get this straight, you want me to be less authentic to make you feel more comfortable. Got it. Not only for me but it can be turned around for you too. Only I do not believe in purposefully lying to you with my body, so that you may like me more. See the problem? Actually, our values do not match. Sure there are times when we smile and it does not actually mean we are happy but we genuinely would like the other to be happy, so I smile at you. Are you the problem or the solution in the story?
Every single piece of advice has a base for why that person is actually like that. Our all knowing God already knows that. I think that is why it is our job to love one another. It is the order of our values. Value God first and you can more clearly see. That may be what someone else says. You should be less quiet. Actually, I like listening to you. You should talk less. I think out loud. You should forget about bringing the wine to a party. Ironically, I need empathy. You should lose weight. This is what I have to do to feel safe. You should daydream less. I actually am not terribly found of reality. Have you seen the news? You should be more honest. I put value in being fun and entertaining more than detail accuracy. You should look at the wall. I need people in my life to accept me. You should keep your eyes on Jesus. I actually deeply care about people. You should nag less. I want everyone to be at their best. You should gossip less. It makes me feel connected and gives positive affirmation that I am doing well. You should want less material things. I feel loved when you give something tangible to me. You should care less about how you look. I like knowing that I look good. You should be less like everyone else. I want the world to like me cause than I can go make a difference. You should engage less with screen time or phone time. Why, are you going to make me feel important? No God is. For every behavior problem out there, there is a motive in the heart that actually looks more virtuous than we all realize.
If as a friend you try to understand. You don’t actually want the change the outside behavior that you are requesting. Change is up to God. You just want to know why they are that way so that you can get along with them, maybe figure out how to best be their friend. Right? Like that is what we are called to do is to love each other. Notice Jesus didn’t try to necessarily change your mind. He wanted a change of heart. He didn’t’ go about producing some grand, elaborate counter argument. He would just simply say, if your without sin than throw the first stone. My guess is our mind will lead us to a heart, that has us put our hands in our pocket and simple walk away with a deeper understanding and love for others.