Have you ever had someone attempt to sum you up and when they finish all you can think to say is, “I think you’ve got the wrong guy”?
Yet, they remain convinced that they know you better than you know yourself. They can see something that you cannot. Their eyes are open.
Okay, so a wise person accepts correction and a fool rejects it. That’s in the Bible and it also makes a lot of sense. So, if a person is truly wise it will be necessary on occasion to acknowledge that they have been foolish about something. Admitting it is the first step.
In this way, it can happen that another person, even a dumb one, can approach you with information that you do not have. They might even see something about you that you cannot see. This can be very helpful.
But that does not mean that they’re always right or that they always know something you don’t know. This is where discernment comes in. Is what they are telling me logical? Or am I rejecting it because of the risk to my ego if I accept it?
What do they gain if I believe them? How does it benefit their ego? What are they risking to tell me this? This is important because sometimes they’re right and sometimes they want to get in your head.
I’ve had it happen to me. I was at a place where I was willing to try anything to fix my life. I was willing to accept that I had been wrong about everything in order that I could move on and get right what I had gotten wrong before. Some people took me in and were invested in my growth. Their version of the story was that I made excuses and failed to trust God with the future. That wasn’t my problem at all.
I tried to tell them that some things are just broken despite how we think about them. My answer was exactly what they expected from someone as un-spiritual as me. I failed to believe that God could do BIG things. That’s how they saw it. That wasn’t the case.
And yet, there version of the story got into my brain. It made me hate myself. I had not measured up and the burden was immense. Why did I always do this? Why was I so closed off to wisdom or to the Spirit of God? It would seem that this was why I had failed. All they could do was pray for me.
Their story took root in my brain and lived there for many months after I had been with them. The more I thought about it, the clearer it became: none of those things were true. Was I flawed? Yes. Was I unwilling to consider the insights of others? No. I was unwilling to consider their insights because I had discerned they were not very wise themselves. Add time and hurt and self-doubt and I started to see it their way.
Do you know how I can tell their story was a lie? Because it didn’t free me. I was burdened by this need to meet their expectations and to change in ways that they had dictated for me. That is not the gospel.
I can see clearly now, they were wrong. How could they claim to know my story? I hadn’t even told them. Where had they gotten their information if not from me? Probably hell.
You’ve got to ask yourself, “Who writes your story?” If it’s not you, why isn’t it?