What Would Jesus Do to Encourage Someone to Heed Advice?
Everyone has “that friend.” You’re trying to help them figure out a situation and you offer some good advice. In fact, you’ve been in that same situation and you know how to make it work. But your friend won’t even listen to you. They will most likely reject your advice immediately without even considering the benefit it might provide. And that hurts.
Having a friend act indifferent to or disinterested in what you have to say can be a blow to your self-esteem, and possibly make you start doubting yourself without reason. There are many people in the world who reject advice because they don’t think they need any help because their own solution to a problem will always be the best one. They may have issues with their own self-esteem, and being able to do for themselves, without help, is a coping mechanism they have developed.
How would Jesus work to help “that friend” stop, listen and actually consider what you are offering? How did Jesus himself handle the pain of rejection in his own life? As often as he was praised for bestowing blessings and bounty to those in need, he endured much rejection as well. In Luke, chapter 9, the rejection Jesus suffers comes from his determination to fulfill his destiny. And somewhere between determination and destiny is the prospect of rejection for us all.
When Jesus encountered rejection, he did not strike back. He did not argue with those who rejected him. He did not wish ill on those who rejected them. He did nothing. When we’re being rejected in life, it is harder to hold your peace than to strike back in anger at the one who rejected you.
Jesus would want to help this rejecting friend to learn tolerance. This person needs to stop whatever they are doing and take the time to really listen to the advice they are being given. Even if they still disagree with your viewpoint, tolerating the fact that there can be more than one way to approach a situation might make them actually consider it.
They might still say no, the first time, and maybe the second time as well. Though if a person has been brought around to the point where they are willing to consider someone else’s advice, they might eventually recognize the value of what they are being offered and be willing to try it. If taking someone’s advice works for them, they are more likely to do it again in the future.
So the next time you are faced with a constantly “rejecting” person, don’t be hurt by their reaction, or say something hurtful to that person in vengeance. Do nothing. It may take all of your emotional strength, but try to follow Jesus and do nothing. In that way you are sending a message from Jesus to this person, and maybe, just maybe, they will hear it and start to do something about their behavior.