My Standard Advice
From time to time people come to to me and ask advice. Sometimes it is something random like: what pogo stick to buy, how to brew a shot of espresso or what kind of shoes are best for ultralight backpacking. Other times it is about deeper issues like how to handle a difficult teen, marriage advice, or how to work with rabid monkeys. OK…maybe I’ve never been asked about rabid monkeys.
I am generally able to conjure up some advice, and I try to make it Biblical when possible, however I have noticed a common thread in the advice that I give. I have found that most of the problems that people face in life is not the other people in our life. It is not your husband, wife, teen or rabid monkey. It is not your past. It is not all the horrible things that you have been through. They aren’t the problem.
The problem is you.
OK I know that sounds harsh, and I try not to say it quite that way, but that’s pretty much my advice. If you tell me that your wife doesn’t love you, then I say that it isn’t her fault. If you say that your boss is the spawn of satan, then I will say that it isn’t his fault. It’s you. I know that I probably sound horribly insensitive…but I really try to be a nice guy though, I even like bunnies!
See there is only ONE person in the entire world that you have total and complete influence over and that is yourself. You cannot control what other people do TO you. You cannot control them. You cannot make them less idiotic. BUT…I like big buts and I cannot lie…you can control how YOU respond. You can control how you act towards that person. You can choose to forgive. You can choose to love.
Unfortunately this advice doesn’t usually go over very well. Most people just want me to agree with them that the person that they are mad at is a lousy scum-ball and lame excuse of a human. Quite frankly I think most people I have given this advice to haven’t listened to it. I guess I’m not a very good counselor, but I still think that my advice is true.
Matthew 7:3 says that we shouldn’t waste our time trying to perform “speck surgery” on someone who annoys us when we need to go under the knife for a major plank extraction.
Does someone annoy you? Are you angry at someone? Has someone hurt you? Don’t try to fix them…don’t even blame them…they aren’t the problem.