Choose wisely whom you allow to have the power to speak into your life, for their words will become your inner voice. If you have ever suffered due to the accusations someone made about you, the labels they applied to you, or the harsh “feedback” they gave you, then you know all to well that this is true. No doubt their words rang in your mind long after they said and left you wondering if maybe that person was right and those words were true. The weight can feel crushing to your soul and the residual effects can haunt you long after the initial event. It is for this reason that it is crucial that we take into consideration who we allow to speak to us about who we are, our actions and our motives.
It is true that people are called to speak into your life. As believers we are to be open to feedback about our blind spots. However, there are times when an individual’s interpretation of your behavior misses the mark entirely. In those times it is wise to hedge your heart and protect against the arrows the individual is launching. (Prov.4:23)
Here are some things to consider before receiving into your heart someones admonishment about your behaviors and motivations.
1.) How long have you known this person? If someone you have just met is trying to reveal to you the motivations of your heart BEWARE, they have not known you well enough to have that level of insight in to who you are and why you might do what you do.
We are designed for relationship and relationships take time to develop and grow. If someone has a long history with you and has proven their love for you over the course of that relationship, then they have earned the privilege of speaking truth into your life on a personal and intimate level. Someone you just met on-line last week has not known you long enough to speak to the intimate areas of your heart.
2.) What is the person’s interest in pointing out your faults or blind spots? They may tell you it is because they love you, but is it also possible that they are in some way hoping to benefit from you changing your behavior.
Consider what is in it for them if you change to conform to their desires. Would changing your behavior help you conform to God’s standards or the other persons standards?
3.) How is the person sharing the information with you? Are they being demeaning, demanding, or critical? Pay close attention to how you feel as they are sharing the information. It is normal that you might feel a little uncomfortable, but if you feel fearful, hopeless, condemned or demoralized it is likely that the person is not delivering a message from God.
When a person is speaking the truth in love to you, you will feel the love. You will hear the love in their voice and their words. They will be able to say things that are difficult to hear, but have it covered in a true compassion and love for you.
4.) What is the character of the person who is trying to speak truth to you? If the individual is not in a right relationship with God or has questionable morals you may want to consider if what they are sharing may be skewed by their own areas of sin and their own blind spots.
God has clear boundaries and truth in his word. An individual who is in a good position to speak truth to you will know truth and be living it out in their own life. Granted no one is perfect, the individual who is speaking to you will also have personal areas of sin and struggle, but it is most likely that they will be, at the very least, trying to live a life of purity before God and have a solid knowledge of his word.
5.) Are you getting the same message from a variety of different sources? If one person is telling you you are impossible to get along with and every one else is telling you you are too compromising then those are clearly mixed messages and one of them is incorrect.
God is a God of consistency. There is a good chance that if the Holy Spirit is poking around in your heart you will be receiving the same message over and over from a variety of sources.