Do you know someone who is struggling with issues, or plagued by problems? Have you tried to help that person, talking to them over and over, with no success?
I have, too.
Don’t get me wrong, my life has never been a model of perfection but, after I made a re-committment to Christ, I began to realize how much better my life could be if I just made some good choices. So, when a friend came to me with a problem, I always tried to get them to see it that way, too.
I can’t tell you how much energy and effort I wasted trying to help some of my friends fix problems they had—with no success. Time and again, they would come to me, voicing their frustrations about their girlfriend, boss, or someone they were arguing with. They were overwhelmed, and felt that regardless of how hard they tried, they couldn’t get ahead in life. But, no matter hard I tried, I couldn’t get them to make the changes they needed to make.
Does any of this sound familiar?
How many times do we try to help people, only to have our words fall on deaf ears?
You can’t stuff 10 pounds of sand in a 5-pound bag.
I know, it’s an old saying, but it’s a good one—and it’s true. That’s also what it’s like when you’re trying to help someone who isn’t listening.
So, why do so many of us keep trying to stuff all that sand into a bag that isn’t big enough?
I think Jesus clued us in on what to do, and we would be doing ourselves a HUGE favor if we took a moment to listen to him.
This is a scripture from Matthew, in the New Testament. It’s something Jesus told his 12 disciples before he sent them out into the world to deliver his message. Let’s see if you take the same thing from it I did.
“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” Matthew 10:14 (NIV):
That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?
To make sure I wasn’t taking something out of context, I checked the study notes in my Bible. I wasn’t. Essentially, what Jesus said is, don’t waste your time trying to convince people who aren’t going to listen.
In other words, don’t try to shove 10 pounds of sand in a 5-pound bag.
This message was delivered by the same Jesus who had more love and grace for people than anyone on Earth could possibly have. Yet, even he knew when it was time to throw in the towel and move on.
Before you start thinking Jesus was a little harsh, consider this:
Do you like it when someone tells you you’re wrong?
I don’t and I doubt you do. Jesus knew some people just won’t listen when you try to help them.
But, not everyone wanted his help. That is still going on today. So, instead of spending a ton of time trying to convince people they need to change, spend that time with people who are ready and willing to make it. As for those who don’t listen, you can still be there for them when they come around. And, of course, there will always be those who never come around, but you can’t do much to change that.
And some people think the Bible is outdated.