What if I told you that "doing the right thing" can sometimes be destructive, damaging to relationships, and make situations worse? Would that sound confusing?
I've personally spent countless hours over the last decade of my own life focusing entirely on "doing the right thing". And overall that has helped me dig out of the darkness I found myself in and improve my life. However that is only effective for me with my own life. Often times that same logic does not work when helping others.
In fact one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is this:
If someone is not asking for help, they don't want it.
How many times have I offered my opinion, my take, my thoughts, my experiences to someone who wasn't asking for them? How about you?
Have you ever noticed things typically don't go well when you do that? In fact usually there's a near 100% chance the other person will actually continue and do exactly what you recommended they not do, after being offered opinions they didn't request.
Now that is not to say that you shouldn't offer sometimes. But learning to listen to the Holy Spirit is crucial here. If you're not really being prompted by god. It's best to shut your mouth and just listen.
Try out these examples where you shouldn't "do the right thing" :
- When someone is struggling you don't tell them what they should be doing.
- When someone is lost, you don't chastise them for being lost.
You see the problem isn't the other persons mistakes, the problem is the hardness of our own hearts.
You know what's better than advice? Tell them you will walk with them through their storm.
You know what's better than directions? Lock arms with them as they find their way back home.
You see what people really need is to know that you aren't going anywhere. They know they are making mistakes deep down inside. They know they are ruining their lives. They know they are doing the wrong thing. They don't need you to tell them anything. What they need is to know that you'll be right there when they change their mind.
It's because of the hardness of our hearts that we chase away the people we care about, all in the name of "doing the right thing". It is the hardness of our own hearts though. Because we neglect to take into account that the other person isn't "there" yet, isn't ready, isn't at that point in the journey where they can make a new decision, a better decision. People need to want to heal, before they can heal. People need to want freedom, before they can be free of their mistakes.