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Posted: March 14, 2013 8:33 p.m.

Understanding and accepting others

“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.”
Proverbs 27:9

Understanding, acceptance and a willingness to get involved are essential elements for one giving Godly advice. Acceptance and approval are not the same thing. We must accept the person, but we do not have to approve of his or her attitudes or actions. Understanding and a willingness to get involved are acts of genuine interest and love. As John Maxwell has said, “No one really cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Unfortunately, as parents, friends and pastors all know, even the greatest of these aforementioned characteristics will not ensure your counsel or advice will be heeded. Why? Well, simply put, some will ignore it even though they may have asked for it. Some people just want to talk; they don’t really desire to change anything (even when it is obvious they should and need to).

Some get defensive: it’s simply easier to cover up the pain than admit they could be wrong. And yet some are just oblivious — no reaction. (We wonder sometimes what the weather is like on “their” planet.) So why bother? Because occasionally, God uses that wise counsel to save a soul or a life or turn around a situation.

And when God does this (and only he can), he is glorified in one more life and one more life gives testimony to the transforming power of God which he uses to draw others to himself. So don’t give up, look up! Trust God and be faithful to be understanding, accepting and willing to get involved for that one!

Dr. William Burnham is pastor of Point of Grace Church in Covington. He can be reached at burnhamw@charter.net.

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