October 27, 2012 by Will Ray
I was listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast the other day – surprise, surprise.
He was talking to a woman whose parents were destroying themselves financially by giving money away to their dependent adult children. Generous, sweet, but utterly foolish.
After giving advice on how she might be able to get through to them he said, “One of the hardest parts of adulthood is watching the people you care about [your friends and family] do stupid things.”
I had never really thought of how much that hurts – or put it into words. But the more you care for someone the more it hurts to see him/her be an idiot. Whether they’re your children, your parents, your siblings, your friends, it hurts.
But people have to make their own choices. That’s part of this life. It’s freeing and yet anguish-inducing to come to the full realization that you don’t have control over a person you care deeply about. You can’t “make” them make the right choices.
So what can we do?
As a Christian, I believe in the power of prayer. Prayer changes things. While we might not see the results immediately, prayer over time can mean a big difference in the ultimate outcome. Pray. Keep praying. Pray more. Pray again. Pray. (see Luke 11)
2) Influence as much as the relationship permits
Be ready to speak into someone’s life, as soon as you get the opportunity. Those opportunities may vary, depending on your relationship with them. My brother and I are very close. I feel like we have the mutual ability to call each other up and speak to just about any subject in the other’s life.
I don’t have that ability or credibility with some of my friends, some in-laws, and acquaintances. But be ready if the opportunity presents itself, when they turn to you and ask, “What do you think about this?”
3) Respect their Boundaries
Don’t go (relationally) where people have “drawn boundaries” and requested that you not go, or ignored your previous advice. It’s difficult to do, especially if those areas are ones where you know they’re not being wise.
Little good is done by inserting yourself into someone else’s business time and again. It’s a sure fire way to send the relationship downhill quickly.
Live your life. Be an example. Be remarkable. Pray for them. And when they come asking for your help or advice, be ready and judgement-free.
Question: How do you handle these tough situations when people you love are doing stupid things?