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Proverb 23: 9            NLB

Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice.

This is one of the hardest lessons for me to learn. Let us suppose you have a friend with a problem, and you have a solution to that problem. What kind of friend are you if you do not offer what you have?

It turns out that people would rather suffer with their issues than accept advice. Is this ego? Is it pride? I don’t know, but it is true that people do not want advice. Frankly, this truth hurts my brain. A friend of mine and I were discussing this just this past weekend. She knows many dietary and nutritional realities that, if heeded, can positively alter a person’s health dramatically. She said she has learned not to offer solutions even when she sees someone seriously damaging their health with food choices. She said, “Ivey, it is casting your pearls before swine.” She was referring to Matthew 7: 6, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

Do you know who my friend quoted? Yes, you said right. It was Jesus. Didn’t Jesus tell us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all people? How, then, does he also advise us to keep our sage wisdom to ourselves? Jesus knew that even the most precious wisdom, the most sagely advice is wasted on a fool. Here is the part which really breaks my heart. Those fools are often my friends and family. How can they not accept truth? Right? Even friends you respect and who are intelligent are not always wise. This is a painful truth. Your best friend may be unable to see the truth which is evident to you. What are you to do?

I wish I had all the answers here, but the reality is, sometimes this truth creates separation between you and a friend. If you wish to climb a mountain and your friend does not, you have no choice but to go on without them. It is painful, but sometimes you just have to leave that friend behind. Pray for them. Ask God to keep them in His peace, but go on up the mountain. You can’t, you just can’t sit on a stone at the bottom of the mountain with them. It will kill you. What would have happened if Moses had not climbed the mountain? All Israel would have been lost and even we would be without the revelations that came out of his sacrifice.

I remember a friend and mentor telling me years ago that you just have to go on without some of the people you would choose to have on the journey with you. I knew he was right; he’s still right, but it is just one of those really challenging life lessons with which I continue to struggle. A different friend of mine recently experienced the same dynamic. She has recently found her relationships strengthened or diminished by this dynamic. It’s simple really, you cannot journey with someone with whom you are unequally yoked.

This is a heart-breaking reality. Personally, I find it intellectually overwhelming that people cannot see the truth that will set them free. No matter what you say, no matter how diligent you are in presenting revelation, some will see it, some won’t. Jesus is effusive in encouraging us to move on. He goes even further than Solomon, revealing that these people will not only despise you and your advice, but they will turn on you. They will not respect or thank you for trying to save their lives or their eternal soul.

What shall we do? We pray for them, but we go look for someone else. It hurts your spirit, I know. Your heart will feel heavy, but don’t allow your calling to falter because of it. Find running mates who can see what you see. Find some folks with the same kind of passion for the things that inspire you. Encourage yourself with the Word and the testimony of Christ because you are suffering the same thing he did. Keep looking up to the heavens for there is your destiny.

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