Tag Archives: support

Being Supportive Doesn’t Always Mean Agreeing

Let me paint you a picture, to illustrate today’s topic. You have a good friend who is completely tone deaf, they can’t hold a tune, but they really love to sing. Yes, we all know such a person, and if you don’t, then you may actually be that person. Let’s say that person comes to you and tells you that they’re going to go on X-Factor, or American Idol, or whatever other show you know of. What do you say? You see we are taught that if you agree with someone, you are being supportive. If you disagree, then you ‘don’t believe in the person’. This is complete nonsense, but we have somewhat come to believe this. How many times do we see people with massive dreams of becoming a singer, who have complete ‘support’ from their friends and family, get humiliated by some ruthless judge in front of the entire nation on TV? My question is simple, “Why hasn’t anyone stopped them before this?”.

Now let me be clear here, I am not talking about speaking negatively into someone’s life. I know that the Bible says that we are more than conquerors in Jesus, and we should have faith. I am not talking about people who try and scare you into not taking a chance. I am merely saying that just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t mean that they don’t support you. So what am I talking about? I am talking about the times when we live our lives in a way that goes against scripture. Let me use an extreme example. If I were cheating on my wife, and one of my friends found out, what would they do? I would hope that they would call me out in no uncertain terms and tell me to stop. In fact, if one of them actually punched me in the face, I wouldn’t see it as an over-reaction. Now I am not condoning violence, but my point is simple, in supporting people sometimes we may have to disagree with them. People are sometimes going to do the wrong things, and a true friend will stop them. If you really love someone, sometimes you need to stand against their actions. Sometimes, supporting someone means stopping them from doing something stupid. As per the singing example, you stop them from the humiliation of being told the truth on live TV. With other more serious actions, sometimes the consequences could be 100 times worse, so we need to step in and tell people when they are making a bad choice.

I grew up in South Africa, but live in the UK, and I think that it is safe to say that English people often disagree with someone but very seldom tell them. The general ‘socially acceptable’ way here is to have a good moan about the fact that someone is doing something wrong, but don’t actually tell them because you don’t want to upset them. Now before you get upset, this is a gross generalisation, but the generalisation for South Africans is different. We are very quick to go and tell the person that they are wrong and that they should sort themselves out. This is also not the best way, as it is often not done in love, but more from a point of condemnation. I don’t know what the general trend is in the US, as I have never been there, but the bulk of people that read this blog are from the US so maybe you can comment and let me know.

Here is the bottom line. If we truly love and support our friends, we will tell them when they are doing something wrong and encourage them to do it right. We will not condemn, but we will not ignore their actions (or worse, encourage the wrong actions). We are called to hold each other accountable, that is not condemning. We hold each other accountable in order to build them up, the devil condemns in order to tear us down, there is a massive difference between the two. Encouraging people to stop doing what is wrong, is part of encouraging people to do what is right. We are called to do both of those things. So next time your friend opposes you in love, next time they challenge you on something that you are doing, don’t jump down their throat. Ask yourself, is there something that you need to change? Are they right? If they are, then maybe you need to listen to them. If they are not, they are still only trying to help, so go easy on them. Don’t accept negativity over your life, but don’t just disregard anyone who disagrees with you, there may be an important lesson lost.

Until next week.

Richard

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Survival of the Fittest

Growing up in South Africa and having animal-loving parents, I have been very privileged to have gone to plenty of game parks, and seen many wild animals. I have also seen various kills (where one animal kills another for food), lions, wild dogs, cheetahs and even an eagle, I have seen them all kill prey. The lion kill was very interesting. The lions split up, singled out a weak individual, separated them from the herd, and ambushed the poor impala. So what has this got to do with Christianity? Glad you asked.

The bible says that the devil roams around like a lion, 1 Peter 5:8. He ‘hunts’ in the same way as a lion does. He’ll try and separate you from the herd, single you out and then ambush. So how does he do this? Well, there are a few ways but one in particular that seems to be fairly common is to try and convince you that you are the only one who falls short. Remember, the devil has very little real power, all he really has is deceit, lies and illusions. He’ll try and convince you that you are all alone in your sin, he’ll try and tell you that everyone else is living the perfect Christian life and you get it wrong. He’ll try and convince you that you are not worthy to come before God.

This is the very time when we need the herd. This is when we should come together with our Christian friends and let them know what we are thinking. Let them come around us and reassure us, pray for us, share with us. When we realise that all have sinned, and that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, the devil loses his power over us! How many times have you dished out advice, and then later on have someone give you the exact same advice back? I do it all of the time. We know what is right and wrong, we know what to do, but the devil gets into our heads and confuses us. This is his number one weapon. Coming together, sharing what we are going through and helping each other out, is what takes the advantage from the devil and gives it straight back to us.

I know what some of you are thinking, yes but then people judge you. Please read the post entitled ‘Judgement Day of Golf‘ for more about this. I know sometimes people try and bring you down, but try and surround yourself with people who actually want to help, and then let them. You can always think more clearly when you are not emotionally involved in a situation, if you trust your friends, their advice for you is probably better than your own advice!

It is not only our responsibility to rely on the herd. We need to be strong, the lions are always after the weak, the strong put up too much fight. Yes, if we are strong, it makes us more of a target for the devil, but the bible says that if we resist him he will flee. We need to be strong to do this. What do I mean by strong? Another good question. I mean read your bible. Pray. Spend time with God. All of these 3 bits of advice will make you stronger. When Jesus was tempted by the devil He rebuked him using scripture, if we don’t know the scripture how can we rebuke the devil? Also, the devil used scripture to try and confuse Jesus. Reading the scripture is not good enough, the devil knows it all, the question is do we understand it? Do we know how it impacts us? We need to be able to use scripture, in context, as a weapon against evil. We also need to use our gifts (I have written a few posts about this) and call on the power of God to manifest in our lives as and when we need it. All of this will make us strong and help us to resist the devil and take ground.

Don’t be an easy target.

Richard