Who do you turn to for advice? Do you listen to advice even though you do not want to hear what the person has to say?
Our lives are a series of events, traversing through different phases and stages, hopefully learning, and becoming wiser along the way. The lessons we learn, although difficult and some painful, can mold us into being more thankful and content.
Unfortunately, in some cases, life can make us more bitter and angry. Perhaps events have altered us so negatively, we have lost our trust in others. Our perspective on life can become jaded and negative, no matter what the circumstance.
Today’s reading is from the Book of Jeremiah, verses 1 to 19. Jeremiah, a prophet of God, had the grueling lifelong task of professing to the Jewish people about the pending doom and destruction of Judah. For forty years, Jeremiah preached to the Jews telling of the pending destruction that would come upon them unless they turned to God to repent. Jeremiah implored the Jews to ask for forgiveness, turn away from sin and idols, and praise God. Unfortunately, they did not listen and ultimately, the Jews were overtaken for years of torture and imprisonment by the Babylonians.
Back to the advice of others, I have learned that “there is nothing new under the sun.” We live our lives and at times, we feel alone. We struggle. We are frustrated. We are angry. We are sad. We are heartbroken. We close ourselves off from others.
Why? Because our focus can become selfish and self-centered. I am not talking about those that deal with mental illness and perhaps cannot control their emotions. Sometimes, we only blame others without owning our piece of responsibility. Perhaps there is someone in our lives who is trying to help us, providing counsel and advice, but we refuse to listen or do not want to hear what they have to say. We can become arrogant and closed off.
Sometimes, the answer to solve our problem, is not what we want to hear. Perhaps the advice we are receiving is about taking a difficult path or requires us to make changes to our lives.
From my perspective, the most important trait to preserve in our lives is humility. Humility enables us to hear the perspective of others, consider their opinion, and explore whether we have room to change or grow. Humility opens our ears and mind to the opinions of others and helps us consider how we ourselves can solve a challenge and not just blame others.
The Jewish people received guidance and advice, straight from God, and they shunned Jeremiah because they did not want to hear what he had to say. Maybe there is a “Jeremiah” in your life right now that is trying to help you. Perhaps there is a friend or family member that you “shut down” because they offer you advice you do not want to hear. My prayer is that we open our hearts and mind, listen to the Word of God, listen to those trying to help us, and stay humble.
Our eternal lives may depend on it.