Sometimes you must engage in a dozen or more casual conversations before you earn the right to speak into someone’s life. It is worth it!
There is a proper order for leaders as well as lay people to offer a significant hand in bringing healing to the hurting and making disciples.
There is so much shock and disappointment around us, and each person is dealing with their own. However that does not disqualify us as decent human beings to continue to reach out to those around us. It doesn’t even have to be someone you know; it can be the person standing in line next to you at Target. The key is to be alert to the desperately hurting and ready to make connection. And often this connection is a casual coffee with nothing profound other than coffee. It may happen a dozen or more times before real connection is developed, and it is the pathway to true freedom.
- Connect- take the initiative
1 Corinthians 15:46
“However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.”
- Console – listen without judgment or advice and empathize.
1 Peter 5:7: “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
- Cheer – you can not encourage a friend or acquaintance fully until you connect and console. These prepare the heart to receive solace.
1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
- Counsel – unsolicited or unearned counsel is rarely effective. James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
Someone waits for your genuine connection, completely unaware that in your pocket also resides consolation, cheer, and counsel should there arise the need. In your pocket resides the keys to eternal life, peace, joy, reconciliation, and true hope for a wonderful future.
Earning the right to speak into other peoples’ lives is an on-going challenge. When my daughter was about 12 years old, she asked me why I didn’t hang out in her bedroom and just talk to her. She named mothers we both knew that did this regularly with their children. As I reflected upon that conversation, I became pierced to the heart. My recollection is that I had spent most of my time correcting her actions or giving her ultimatums or barking out rights and wrongs. I had forgotten about the foundation and lubrication of tenderness in developing her trust and confidence before endeavoring to mold her into a God-fearing, decent human. I needed that rebuke, and I endeavored to make a change. Because I invested little into relationship and more into discipline, I was losing the right to be heard and taken seriously.
Conversely, in my places of employment or when I lived in other countries, I consciously made an effort of showing care and empathy toward colleagues or neighbors before dropping the seeds of the gospel. I found this to be effective. Often friends or colleagues would initiate conversations about wanting prayer or more assurance about life or death.
There are millions hurting and in need of truth and healing living in the darkness. Only a few cross my path daily, but timing is always key. It is worth the patience to let love and trust grow before offering the pearl of great price. Again and again, earning the right to speak is worth the investment.