And to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NIV
Our church holds four core values close at heart because they keep us healthy and safe. They include Give, Forgive, Serve, and Respect. The central idea behind respect is “ARP – advice requires permission.” Too many times well-meaning friends say, “You should …” Instead of helped, I walk away feeling misunderstood and helpless.
We build trust among us by sharing experience, strength, and hope, not advice. There’s no way to know everything that someone is going through, so our guidance could end up being harmful rather than helpful. Plus, don’t most of us have plenty to attend to at home without attending to someone else’s home too?
I heard a sermon about Respect that made me rethink setting myself up as an authority. Until that moment, I thought it was at least okay to give advice when the person finally came to their senses and asked me for it. However, our pastor said, “When someone asks you what they should do, why not suggest they ask God?”
Oh, yeah … I’m not their God, not their Holy Spirit Junior, not their Jiminy Cricket. Not once has God said, “Your life’s purpose is to meddle in the affairs of others.” Not once has He asked me to fill in while He naps.
This doesn’t mean we’re uninvolved with or unconcerned about people. In his article “Aspiring to live the quiet life,” J. Aaron Gruben said, “It’s still a good thing to care about our neighbors – and we might ‘interfere’ when need be. But we shouldn’t be ‘noisy bustlers.’”
First time reading that paragraph, I thought it said “we shouldn’t be nosey bustlers.” Noisy or nosey, either one works. Just don’t be one.
He went on to say, “How very common and destructive it is for people to be always ready to critique every little aspect of their neighbor’s life, while they hardly regard how they live their own lives. They spend three times more thought about how others should live than how they should.”
Prayer fixes a lot of this. And when we mind our own business, we have a lot more time to pray.
Is minding your own business easy or difficult for you?
In This Together,
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