I am sure you’ve heard the expression, “mind your business.” Am I right? I know I have. Perhaps, you can remember coming up in a household where you were taught to “stay outta grown folks bit-ness.” You may have even been popped upside the head from time to time for disobeying this cardinal rule.
Can you relate to that?
Well, have you ever considered that this law still applies even in adulthood? I am serious. As adults, I think we sometimes get too involved in the affairs of other adults. We have our personal opinions and philosophies about what everybody else should do. And if we’re not careful, we’ll try to run other people’s lives for them, when really, that’s not our place.
Let me tell you something that can potentially save you from undue stress and high blood pressure. Don’t get so consumed with the choices of other “grown folks,” especially when they’re not asking you to be involved. I know it can be hard to bite your tongue when you really want to tell someone exactly what you think about their decisions. But, that’s not your job.
This pill may be tough to swallow, but if you go ahead and wash it down, it’ll do you good.
For the purposes of clarity, I am not referencing “pseudo-adults” who are still living under your roof, and just think they’re grown. No, not at all. I was raised up to believe that, as long as I was under my parents’ roof . . . what? . . . I had to abide by their rules . . . Now let the church say, “amen.” (I hear you talkin’ back to me right there. You know I’m speaking truth.)
Besides, the Bible tells us, “Do not withhold correction from a child” (Proverbs 23:13a).
On the contrary, I am talking about individuals who are at least 18 years of age and are taking care of themselves. For example, they have their own house or apartment, their own a vehicle, and they have a job. Essentially, I am referring to self-supporting, independent people.
These are the ones we have no business policing. I know it can be difficult not to stick your nose in their affairs, especially when you’re concerned about their well-being. But, you have to give them room to grow. Think about it. You didn’t get where you are overnight. You took some knocks. You made some mistakes along the way, but you’re still here by the grace of God.
So, when you see them heading down a destructive path, it’s not always wise to tell them what’s on your mind. Everyone can’t receive instruction. Sometimes you have to hold your peace. Otherwise, they’ll resent you for lecturing them. They’ll feel that you’re being condescending and that you don’t understand where they’re coming from.
Even though you want to help, it will do no good, if the person on the other end is not open or receptive to the wisdom you have to offer. Just pray for them. Even when they ask your opinion, don’t disclose everything you’re thinking. After all, when people ask your opinion, most of the time, they don’t really want the truth. They merely want you to tell them what they want to hear. They don’t want the truth . . . they can’t handle it.
Proverbs 17:10 says, “Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows for a fool.” Don’t waste your words on those who don’t want to receive it. It just doesn’t make sense. The Bible also says in Proverbs 17:27, “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”
Hear me today and you’ll be better able to salvage some relationships. You’ll be able to go the distance with people and maintain friendships, without diminishing the other person’s sense of worth. I want you to practice being merciful. Love people through their mistakes. You talk to God and let God talk to them.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not proposing that you placate people and make them believe that you agree with their foolishness. On the contrary, there are some occasions when it’s appropriate to express the fact that you don’t necessarily agree. But, you also don’t have to beat them over the head, because chances are, they know what they’re doing is wrong. They don’t need you to tell them that.
Trust me, I am speaking from experience. There are countless times when I am on the other end of that conversation and everything in me is screaming, “Tell them they’re wrong!” “Tell them they’re being stupid!” “Tell them they’re headed straight for trouble!” I must admit, there are times when I’ve given into the urge to tell them exactly what I am thinking. Then, other times, I’ve thought better of it.
I find that, expressing love and understanding is the best solution. When I do that, I am at least able to keep a dialogue open with the individual and help them work through their emotions. Most importantly, once they learn they can trust me, I am able to help them find godly resolutions to the problems they’re facing.
Here’s what I want you to get. The love of Jesus is expressed through your actions, not your words. Although, you are wise and experienced, you must learn to allow others to grow and develop at their own pace. In time, they’ll come to see the error of their ways. And if you remain loyal and non-judgmental through rough times, you’ll be in position to help them once they’re finally ready to listen.
Please remember, love is not seasonal. And it’s certainly not contingent upon whether or not individuals’ behave in manners that suit your beliefs and preferences. Rather, “love suffers long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4a NKJV).
Until next time . . . may you be empowered to prosper.