Last week in my blog I reflected on those situations we find ourselves in where we don’t know what to say and I offered some thoughts on how to respond wisely. Not only is it essential to often slow your voice down in relationship, but we need other voices in relationships as well.
Here’s what I mean … and I imagine this is an experience common to man. You have been trying to help someone see something in their life and they just don’t understand or see it. Then someone else comes along and says exactly the same thing to them and the clouds part and they wonder why nobody has ever told them this life-changing counsel. Parents, you know what I’m talking about! Your kid comes home from camp or youth group with awe over a truth that was illumined to them and shared it with you as though you’d never heard of it. It is perhaps one of the craziest things in pastoral ministry. People who come to understand a precious truth that you’ve been teaching, preaching, and counseling for years only to state that they’ve never heard it. In my younger (and more arrogant) years, this would drive me crazy. I so desperately wanted “credit” for faithfully teaching that or courageously sharing that with a friend. Now in my slightly older (and slightly less arrogant) years, I am able to thank God for the “other voices” in people’s lives that help them grow. Of course the spiritual reality behind it all is that not my voice or that of another is the “change agent” … it’s the Spirit that opens eyes, minds, and hearts to receive truth and delight in it!
Yesterday I enjoyed the great benefit of “another voice” speaking to a subject I love dearly – friendship. As a pastor one of my greatest desires is to see the people of God in a local church love each other deeply from the heart … to be engaged in intentionally redemptive relationships as a norm for the life of the body. But it is always of great value to have other like-minded voices teach that same truth … from their perspective, with their personality, and in the power of the very same Spirit to God’s people. A friend speaking on friendship, how great is that?! Pastor Jonathan Holmes taught us well from the unlikely friendship of Ruth and Naomi and guided us into extremely practical counsel for growing in spiritual friendship. Listen to his sermon here, or buy his book here. Listen to the wise voices God has placed in your life. Invite other Godly voices to speak into your life. But most of all know that the voice of God must ring the loudest in your ear … it is the Spirit that brings understanding!