Impartiality is one of the character traits that God has given me and continues to hone as I get older. Sometimes this causes people that I love very much to feel like I don’t have their back, so to speak. That is never my intent. Being impartial, to me, simply means being on GOD’s side. The side of truth.
Being impartial when the situation is personal and emotions are running high is much more difficult than when we are a third party. But this is when it is most crucial to step back and look at the situation as objectively as possible.
No matter how scared, angry, bitter, offended, hurt (or any other words you can come up with) we feel, attempting to CONTROL the outcome of a situation is futile. We need to let it go. The only thing we can do is INFLUENCE the outcome. And if we are not careful, we can have the polar opposite influence from the one we intended.
Let’s face it. No matter what we believe, where we live, what our profession, what season of life we are in; we DO NOT like to be told what to do. We do, however, have no problem telling other people what to do. Sometimes, the reason we do this is simply because we want something. We are thinking about ourselves. Sometimes, however, it is because we care about them. We see them teetering on the edge of a disaster. We will do whatever it takes to “talk them off the edge” and keep them from making what we perceive as a terrible mistake.
Would we REALLY do whatever it takes to protect them, though? Its easy to say “yes”. But what if it takes trusting God. What if it takes praying for His will? What if the best thing we can do for them is to love them, without trying to control their decisions? What if….we need to wait at the bottom of the ravine with open arms to catch them if they fall, instead of standing behind them up on the ledge, saying or doing something that may cause them to back away from us and over the edge we are trying so desperately to protect them from.
If we want to be a good influence on the outcome of a situation, the first thing we need to do is to separate emotion from truth. Take a deep breath. Maybe two, or three. Try to put ourselves in their shoes. This doesn’t mean that we start thinking, “If I were in that situation, I would….”. They are not us. They do not think like us. They do not have the same life experiences. We have to instead consider, “If I were their age, and had their personality, and possibly been through whatever they have been through, I would….”
We need to listen more than we talk, ask questions that cause them to think a little deeper, and keep our advice to ourselves unless it is asked for. We have to let go of the feeling that we need to CONTROL the situation.
I am learning that the better we get at taking this approach, the more the ones we love will actually seek out our advice. No, they won’t always take it. They won’t always agree. But they will be much more likely to let us in and respect what we have to say. And the best part of it all is that our relationships grow to a closeness we never thought was possible.
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