Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wisdom for Listening and Ignoring

So a pal brings a charge against you,
Best listen and best comply,
With everything that is true,
With everything you cannot deny.
But the charge that hangs against you,
That from one who’s taken a side,
That’s the one you may quietly rebuke,
That charge may be denied.
People may say we have done this and we have done that, but LORD, “show us their bias.” If there is none, the person’s to be trusted. We listen to them and we weigh what they have to say. We pour contempt on our pride. But why would we expose ourselves to them who have a dark motive (whether they are aware of it or not). Yet, we can still pay them the undeserved favour (grace) of listening to them. Just go into the dialogue under much prayer.
Let’s break this down...
Some people we can trust; some we can’t. It’s not just about competence. Sometimes people don’t know we shouldn’t trust them. They may not even see the bias.
Sometimes people think their advice is godly, and perhaps it is, but it lacks important areas of verification, and it would only be good advice if they took this into account.
Sometimes people do have our best interests at heart, but they don’t have all the facts at their disposal. Their bias against us may not be harshly intentioned – yet, their advice still isn’t to be trusted.
Advice we can trust comes out of a neutral base. There is no partiality in it. It isn’t actually given as advice most times. It may be framed as questions, where we may find ourselves answering our own need of wisdom. Or, answers just emerge, where the person mentored comes to their own conclusion, through simple journeying with the mentor. Trusted mentors have a way of asking the right questions, and they reflect back their own experience and sight – how things look to them; what they experienced. There is no ulterior motive. It is a badly chosen mentor who has any sense of motivation for or against us – apart from our overall good.
Wisdom helps us to know when to listen (like, listening for advice) and when to ignore (when we will pretend to listen out of courtesy and respect).
We need much wisdom and restraint at times.
Good counsel is crucial. Proverbs 11:14 and 24:6 say, “... in an abundance of counselors there is... safety... and victory.” But we need mentors we can trust, who are wise, impartial, and who weigh and discern our true best interest. If the person we listen to has already taken a side – whether for us or against us – perhaps that mentor is limited in their effectiveness.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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