I have dedicated my life to helping other people. I assist them in understanding the Bible. I help them to think about God. I help married couples and parents who are struggling. I help people rebuild after failure and plan for a better future.
As I try to help people through the years, I have learned there are several different reactions –
1. Try to help someone, and you can be ignored.
Since my advice is free, many people listen but do nothing with it. Usually, there is a moment down the road where I want to say, “I told you so,” but I don’t. You can have perfect advice for a given situation, and some people will never do a thing you suggested.
2. Try to help someone, and you can be selectively heard.
More than once I have talked to someone after a counseling session, and they have said they did that thing I suggested. After a few minutes, I realize they only heard part of my suggestion. For example, I have told people to set aside 40 days to pray, seek counsel, read their Bible and then make a decision. The people will mark their calendar for a 40-day mark and then not do any of the necessary daily work to see their decision more clearly.
3. Try to help someone, and you can be misunderstood.
I have heard things like, “So you think you are a better parent than I am?” For a long time, I heard, “You will understand this better when you are older.” Many times, my words of advice have fallen on deaf ears because people read into my words. They thought my words were an attack on their life instead of a helping hand.
4. Try to help someone, and you can be abused.
Some people take your help, and then they will take advantage of you. They will want all your time and attention. They will call at inappropriate times. They will soon feel more like a stalker than a friend. Picture the movie “What About Bob?” if you have ever seen that.
5. Try to help someone, and you can be the help they need.
Occasionally my thoughts and time are well spent. You talk to someone, and the words penetrate their heart and soul. You will speak the power of life and hope into their situation, and they will never be the same. Their marriage will be healed. Their family will connect. Their soul will be refreshed to move forward. Grace will invade the situation, and God will do a mighty work.
The last one is the reason I keep offering counseling and conversation. One out of every five people I try to help will be a success story. Most of my attempts to help people are miserable failures. It is easy to want to give up. Then something happens that I didn’t expect and good things are produced.
I know some of you are trying to help your family and your friends. It is easy to get discouraged and give up, but let me challenge you today. You might be the voice they need to hear. Today may be the success story you have been praying God would bring.