Helping others (2)
Yesterday we started looking at the sort of people who we can struggle to help. Today we’re looking at some more: 1) People who want to talk but not listen. James speaks about two kinds of people – hearers and doers. He wrote: ‘Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says’ (James 1:22 NIV). It can be easy to offload to others about our problems, but not take on board their advice. Sometimes we can get so used to our problems that they feel like they’ve become part of us. We like to complain about them, but we don’t want to change anything because that might make us feel uncomfortable. 2) People who don’t think we’re qualified to help them. Jesus wasn’t respected in His home town, yet He was the very person they needed (have a read of John 1:11-12). When people are unwilling to accept our help and advice, chances are they may not be ready to grow and deal with their problems. 3) People who want what we have, but not what we know. These people want to be rescued but not instructed; comforted but not corrected. And when we keep rescuing them from their situations, they don’t learn what God can teach them through the hard times. David said, ‘It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees’ (Psalm 119:71 NIV). It’s also worth remembering that we shouldn’t feel responsible for trying to fix people’s situations. They should be dependent on God, not us. So instead of striving endlessly to meet other people’s needs, we need to try to connect them to God – the One who can meet all our needs.
Next time you’re offloading your problems to someone, make an effort to really listen to the advice they give you in return. Write it down and ask God whether it’s advice you should take on board.