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Andy Stanley - Just Listen


Andy Stanley - Just Listen
TOPICS: You'll Be Glad You Did

So a couple of things about me that maybe you can relate to: I don't like to be told what to do. When things are my ideas, I don't mind doing them; but when I'm told that I need to do 'em, for some reason I push back. I know that's immature, and you would think by now you would outgrow that or I would outgrow that, but I haven't. And I don't like to be told I have to do something. Again, if it's my idea; but the moment somebody says, "You have to do something," or, "We have to do this," or Sandra's like, "You know, tomorrow night we have to..." As soon as I hear we have to, there's... I just, you know, I push back.

The other thing is I tend to think that my way is the better way of doing things even when it's something I've never done before, which is very problematic. So all that to say it means that I'm human, human. Any other humans in the room? Do we have any other humans in the room that just still haven't outgrown, yeah, being told what to do? I mean, you'd think after about 16 it's like, "Oh yeah, I should just say yes and go along". The other thing, and maybe you can relate to this, is I don't like to read instructions which means I have to redo things oftentimes, if they can even be redone, after I have done them wrong because I wouldn't read the instructions. That's why I can't cook. Sandra says all the time, "Look, anybody who can read instructions can cook". And I'm like, "I know," but I just can't follow instructions very well, and that's why I can't cook.

And then last thing, maybe you can relate to this, and this is your season of life. We've been married 34 years. But when we got engaged somebody started talking about premarital counseling, and it wasn't such a big deal way back then. And I remember thinking like... And back then it was all guys, you know? It's like, "We're gonna go sit and some guy that I don't even know is gonna tell me how to run our relationship? I don't think so. And besides that, you know, marriage, I mean, how hard can this be"? Right? But we did do premarital counseling, and I'm so glad we did, and Sandra is so, so, so glad that we did. And today we are in part two of our series "You'll Be Glad You Did: Timeless Advice for Troubled Times".

Now, we've all lived long enough. Most of us are adults, we've live long enough to have made some decisions and develop some habits, I should say, that we're glad we did. And we've also lived long enough to have made some bad decisions and developed some bad habits that we wish we hadn't. All of us have stories that end with I'm glad I did. All of us have stories that end with I wish I had. We all have stories that end with I'm glad I didn't. And we all have stories that end with I wish I hadn't.

So what we're doing in this series, if you missed part one, is I'm just gonna give you.... I'm offering unoriginal... All of this is unoriginal. I may have phrased it in new ways, but none of this is original with me. I'm offering unoriginal you'll be glad you did advice. This is just advice. These are not moral imperatives or ethical imperatives. These are not rules to live by. But this advice, if you take it, will keep you from breaking some rules that have the potential to break you and have the potential to break your heart and have the potential to break the hearts of the people that you care about the most.

Now, this advice, we said this last time, is like the advice you give. All of you have given somebody advice along the way, whether they've taken it or not. We love to give advice. And you'll notice the advice that you give, this advice is like the advice you give, it sort of sits between the rules, okay? This advice sits between the rules. This isn't right versus wrong, moral versus immoral, ethical versus unethical, it actually resides in the realm of wisdom. This is wisdom advice. And generally that's what advice is, it's not: "Should I break the law or not break the law?" it's never that clear, it's wisdom. And our working definition for wisdom is simply: Insights informed by the knowledge that life is connected. Insights that are informed by or fueled by the fact or the observation or knowledge that life is connected.

And by life is connected, we're talking about that one thing leads to another, that you can make a decision or a series of decisions in one season of life that impacts or shapes or determines what happens in the next season of life. Life is connected, that one thing leads to another, that today's decisions show up in tomorrow's realities. And that's what wisdom is. Wisdom is looking at the dilemma, looking at the problem, trying to solve, looking at the options before me and asking: "What's the best option for me in light of the fact that life is connected and this decision will have an impact that may follow me perhaps the rest of my life or at least into the next season of my life"? My past is in some way gonna show up in the future. Now, of course, this is the lesson that every parent tries to impart to their children; but for some reason as adults we don't think sometimes it applies to us or we just lose sight of the fact of how much it applies to us. So that's the introduction today. I wanna jump in.

So today's "You'll Be Glad You Did" timeless unoriginal advice is just one word, and the word is listen, which is very odd advice to give to a group of people sitting quietly in rows facing forward. I realize, okay? You don't have much choice. And I also realize that without context... 'Cause some of you're already thinking this 'cause you're smart people, you're way ahead of me, without context this isn't necessarily always good advice. But we're mature so let me couch this 'cause you know where I'm going with this. If we're honest, no one has to tell us or advise us to listen to what we want to hear, right? I mean, how many times do I have to tell you, "Order dessert"? You know, that's never happened, right? "Lease the car. Buy the shoes. Call him back. Move in. Blame her. Blame him. Don't call, just text. Don't apologize, it wasn't your fault," right?

I mean, nobody really has to lean in and advise us because when we hear things we already want to do, it's like, "Absolutely". That doesn't take listening skills because confirmation bias is strong and all of us. Nobody has to say, "Listen to me"! when we're hearing something that we wanted to hear and basically moves us in the direction we were already moving in. We don't lean into advice that feeds an appetite because nobody needs to advise us to follow an appetite, we just do that naturally. But it's pausing, it's unfolding and uncrossing our arms, and agreeing to listen to what we don't wanna hear, that's what we're talking about, that's the challenge, that's today's advice, and that is maturity. When you are willing to listen to what you don't wanna hear when you need to hear it, that's maturity. You know what that does for you? I mean, this should cause all of us to just embrace this immediately.

This puts you ahead of the pack. This puts you ahead of everybody else. It keeps you out of trouble. It ensures that you're gonna write a story that you will be proud to tell to your children and your grandchildren, that's what this does for us. But the reason we have to talk about it is because it's not natural, right? I mean, as I said a few minutes ago, I mean, I still kinda hang on emotionally, I think at times, to my adolescent ways in terms of I just don't wanna be told what to do; and once I have an idea, I don't really want to hear the information that makes it sound like a bad idea because I wanna do what I wanna do. Natural is: "Tell me what I want to hear". In fact, I gravitate to these people, don't you? I gravitate to this advice, it makes me feel smart, it makes me feel secure, it makes me feel... It just confirms my bias, right?

So if you're not gonna tell me what I wanna hear, then just don't tell me anything at all. Now, if you're not a religious person or a Christian person, that's fine because what we're talking about so far, this is just for humanity, this is just for all of us. And this next thing I'm gonna say, this may be the big takeaway for you because where we go after this, you may decide, "Nah, I'm not gonna do any of that". But this next statement, and this is kind of clunky the way I wrote it, but this is so important, and it connects to something we talked about last time. Refusing to listen, refusing to listen to what we don't wanna hear that we need to hear is a gateway decision. Refusing to listen to what we don't wanna hear that we need to hear is a gateway decision.

Here's what I mean by a gateway decision. The worst thing you've done in your life, the thing that created the greatest regret of your life was not not listening, but refusing to listen was a gateway to the thing that perhaps you wish you could go back and undo, unlive that season of life, that weekend, that marriage, that whatever it might be, that relationship, that financial decision. Refusing wasn't the worst thing you ever did, but refusing to listen was the gateway to the decision you would give anything to go back and undo. But some of the worst things you've done... Again, some of the worst things I've done, I would not have done if I had listened.

And again, this goes back to what we talked about last time, don't forget this, that our greatest regrets are always... And there may be an exception, but it's an exception-exception. Our greatest regrets are always preceded by a series of unwise decisions, and refusing to listen to what we need to hear is an unwise decision that often sets us up for regret. That's why I say refusing to listen is a gateway decision. Now, I notice nobody's writing any of this down. And that's fine, you don't need to. I mean, there may be some note takers, I'm a note taker. And you don't need to write this down. You know why you don't need to write it down? You already know this. We all already know this, that's why it's so crazy.

And the reason we know that what I'm saying is true is because we've been on the other side of this. Every single one of us has watched a friend, a family member, a neighbor, somebody at work, somebody that we care about, begin to or move in an unhealthy direction or begin to make a bad decision, or we hear that they're about to make a bad decision, and we've thrown ourselves in front of them and said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, look, look". And you have tried your best to kind of head them off at the pass and keep them from making that decision, and they refused to listen. And the strange thing was, the odd thing was you predicted their future, you knew exactly what a disaster it was gonna be. I mean, when things didn't work out relationally or financially or that career decision, or they decided to move to that other city, when it didn't work out, you were not surprised, it was so clear to you that they were making a bad decision.

You know, "Don't go there. Don't call him back. Don't call her back. Don't move there. Don't take that trip. Don't take that job," it's so obvious, but they just couldn't see it, right? From the outside looking in... I mean, again, we've all... In fact, some of you it was this week or maybe the last couple of weeks, maybe with one of your kids or maybe you're one of your adult kids, which is always so tenuous, from the outside looking in, it's so clear. And that's the point of this message, that's why we're talking about listen. Because to the people outside of you and outside of me, some of the decisions we're making or about to make or the options we're considering, it is so clear to them. And oftentimes it's not just one person, there's a them; and they got together and they said, "Who's gonna tell him"? And they're like, "We're not gonna tell him. The last time we tried to tell him, you know, he didn't speak to us for two weeks. In fact, I'm not sure he'll ever.... I'm not sure he listens to anybody. I'm not sure she listens to anybody".

But finally they sent somebody in or somebody loves you enough and they put your relationship with them on the line because they love you so much, and they tried to get in front of you and head you off at the pass again, and tried to talk you out of something because it was so clear to them. But it's never as clear to us because when we are in decision-making mode, when we're looking at options, especially as it relates to relationships and money, relationships and money are not emotionally neutral topics. Did you know that? Yes, they are not emotionally neutral topics. And once our appetites get involved in the decision-making process, it is almost game over because we just hyper focus. There's all kinds of things that happen psychologically when there's something that we want, and we can't see clearly in our own decision-making process, we can't see clearly in our own lives, but usually there's somebody who can.

And the wise man, the wise woman, regardless of their age or stage of life, is the one that is willing to uncross their arms and say, "Okay, I don't wanna hear this but go ahead and tell it to me anyway". If you'll stop, if you'll pause, if you'll listen, you'll be glad you did. I guess one way of saying it is this: When you hear yourself saying, or you catch yourself thinking, or you find yourself humming, "I don't need you to worry for me 'cause I'm all right. I don't want you to tell me it's time to come home. I don't care what you say anymore". This is what? "This is my life. Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone, okay"? When you find yourself thinking any of those thoughts or humming any of those tunes, that is the time to tap the breaks, it is not the time to hit the accelerator.

Now some of you're saying, "Andy, how did you know? Who told you? Who told you? Who told you"? Nobody told me, this is just the world we live in. This is all of us at some season of life. And for somebody today in the rooms with me, or in the room with me, or you're watching somewhere, I mean, this is exactly what's going on right now because your spouse has tried, your fiance has tried, your best friend has tried, your roommate has tried, the guy at work; somebody who works for you, and it's so hard for them because you're the boss, you're the manager, you own the franchise, and yet they care so much about you, they have tried to say, "Hey, would you think about? Would you consider?" and you've just shut 'em down.

If there is somebody... Come on, if there is somebody and you know in your heart of hearts they have your best interest in mind and there's something they're trying to communicate to you, just listen because they may see something you can't see. And while you're listening, and while you've got your arms uncrossed, and while you're trying to be open, here's what you gotta do in the meantime or while that's going on, you gotta pay attention to the tension. Because while they are saying things to you you don't want to hear, inside of you, inside of me, there's attention. And you need to pay attention to that tension and ask yourself this question: "What's really going on? Why am I resisting so hard? Why am I so angry? Why does this stir me up? I mean, this is a person that loves me. This is a person that cares about me. Here's somebody who's taking a relational risk to confront me or to tell me what I don't wanna hear. What is going on inside of me? What's really going on inside of me"?

Because oftentimes it's an us thing, it's not a them thing, so listen. When King David... He was the second king of Israel, ancient Israel. When King David died, his son took the throne. You probably know this sequence of events if you grew up in church or around church or just ancient history. His son's name was Solomon. And when Solomon became the king, he was a whopping 20-years-old, prefrontal lobe development and he is the king. Don't think too much about that, right? But fortunately for Solomon, he was smart enough to know and wise enough to know that he did not have what it took to be a king at 20. He was wise enough to recognize, and here's the key, and humble enough to admit he didn't know what he was doing, that he needed help. So his biographer actually documents a prayer that Solomon prayed and documents what happened in response to that prayer.

And there's so much packed in here. And this is such a great model of the posture that all of us should live with regardless of how long we've lived. Here's what this biographer said that Solomon prayed. Here's his prayer: "Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king". First of all, this is a huge recognition: "The people didn't make me king, you made me king. I'm king because you are the sovereign God who controls the destinies of all people". "You have made your servant king in place of my father David, but I'm only a kid. I'm only a child". I mean the, the humility in the recognition, it's remarkable: "I'm only little child and I don't know how to carry out my duties. I don't know how to be king". I mean, this is the perfect start. This is the right posture. In fact, this is the posture we should all maintain throughout our lives: "I only know what I know, but I don't know everything I need to know".

Then in verse 9, we're skipping, verse 9 says this, so here's his prayer: "So Lord, give your servant a discerning heart". You know what a discerning heart is? Discerning is: Here's all the information, here's everything going on, and I've gotta navigate all this so at the end of the day I've made the right decision and end up where I need to be. "Give me a discerning heart," that there's no real map, I've never lived in this season before, I've never navigated what I've navigated before, I've never raised a child before, I've never been married before, this is my first career, this is my second opportunity with this industry, this is a new city, this is a new school. "Give me a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours"? And the result?

The text says that God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breath of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Now, I just wanna make one comment about this. This is so important. We all know that water follows the path of least resistance, wisdom does as well. Water follows the path of least resistance, wisdom does as well. And the least resistance when it comes to wisdom is humility, the recognition that I don't know everything I need to know, that I don't necessarily have it all together, that this is a new season for me. Humility equals receptivity. Pride always equals resistance: "I, I, I don't need to hear that. I, I, I know that. Yeah, I, I, I've heard that before. Thank you, but, you know, I'm... You've never walked in my shoes. Thank you, but no thank you".

And the outcome of Solomon's decision, his prayer and God's answering his prayer, is that his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. If you read his story, I mean, men and women, kings and queens travel to sit at Solomon's feet and to sit and listen to his wisdom and ask him questions. Now, I grew up on this story. And one of the things, years and years and years ago, that I thought was so fascinating, it's what got me interested in this topic, so fascinating and honestly a little bit surprising, is that the man Solomon, the man who needed advice least of all... I mean, here's the guy, he doesn't need anybody's advice because he's the wisest man on the planet.

According to his biographer and the people that were around him he's the wisest man in the kingdom. He doesn't need anybody telling him that what to do, he doesn't need anybody's advice, but he wrote more about seeking advice and the consequences of resisting advice than any other ancient writer or philosopher, and more than any other author of any of our scripture, because in his extraordinary wisdom, he understood the value of wise outside counsel. Here's just a few statements that you find scattered throughout his proverbs. "Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still". In other words, nobody is ever old enough and wise enough to not need outside counsel or not need outside input; that the wise person, this is important, the wise person is always a learner. They're never the expert to the point where they don't need any more expertise or anymore outside counsel.

The wise person is always in learning mode. They resist the temptation and the tendency to do this. They resist the temptation to say, "Hey, I'm gonna wall people out because I think I know everything I need to know". He says this: "A wise person will hear and increase in learning, and a person of understanding," this is so powerful, "will acquire or will seek wise counsel". A wise person seeks out or acquires input from the outside. They don't wait to be told and they don't have to be sold. They don't wait to be told, they don't have to be sold; they actually seek it out, they actually invite it in. They ask for it. They don't wait for people to say, "Hey, I need to talk to you about something, it's real important. It's gonna be a little bit awkward. You might get mad at me," they're like, "No, no, no, just bring it".

Now, here's an observation as it relates to input from the outside, okay? You know, this is a little bit harsh, but when we don't want is when we need it. Let me put it a different way. Do you know how you know when you need outside input? When you don't want it. The moment you don't want it, that's how you know you need it. "I don't know if I really need outside input or not". "Well, do you want it"? "No". "You need it". That's how you know, okay? And again, when you think about those people that you tried to advise, that you tried to counsel, that you tried to get in the way and keep them from making a decision you knew they were gonna regret, they so needed it; but when they needed it, they didn't want it. It's when you don't want it is when you know you need it. And maybe that's you today.

Maybe you're wondering, again, "Who told you"? This is just common to all of us. And at least I can just speak for me and my age and season of life, so far it has not gone away. In fact, I don't even think it's any better. I have to resist and fight it every single time. Solomon continues, he says, and this is harsh, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes". Now there's a person that says, "Look, I got it all figured out. I don't need any counselor or advice. I don't need to read that. Don't give me another article. No, we can't sit down and talk about it. No, I'm not gonna do that. No, I'm not gonna meet with them. No, no, no". Okay, Solomon says, "That person's a fool". And what is a fool?

Well, in the Book of Proverbs, in the writing of Proverbs, in the teaching of Jesus, a fool is someone who attempts to live life as if life is not connected, that today doesn't impact tomorrow, that there is no creator, that everything is 1,100% random. So it doesn't matter what I do today 'cause I can figure out how to fix it tomorrow. Solomon says that's a fool. Only a fool lives as if life isn't connected, that this season isn't gonna impact and shape and maybe determine the next. Did I mention... well, let me read the rest of this. "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a person who listens to advice is wise".

Again, I think this is where it's going back to. I think I mentioned when we don't want it is when we need it. When we don't want it is when we need it. So lemme just ask one more time before we move on. Are you in a place right now, in an arena of life or area of life; financially; relationally with your kids, one of your kids, with your husband, your wife, your fiance; you're thinking about getting married; you're thinking about moving; and you don't want it, you don't wanna hear it? You need it. In fact, lemme just ask you a different way. What do you intend to do that you don't intend to share because you don't wanna hear?

What are you intending to do that you don't intend to share because you don't wanna hear, and we've all been here, because we already know what they're going to say and you just don't wanna hear it. You don't wanna hear it again. You don't wanna hear it from somebody else. What are you planning right now: financially, relationally, professionally, academically, whatever it might be? What are you planning right now that you're not planning to share because you don't wanna hear? Let me tell you what you're doing that you don't know you're doing. You are masterminding your own regret. You are planning a party you are not going to want to attend. You are planning, it's not accidental. When you get there you can't say, "I don't know how this happened. I can't believe this happened to me. How did I get here"? No, no, no. You are planning it.

Step number one, "I have a bad idea". Step number two, "I'm not gonna share it with anybody". Step number three, "Because I don't wanna hear it, I'm gonna do what I wanna do". And then you're gonna have a regret. And let me say one more thing about this, another... Really push 'em. It means you're selfish. And you don't wanna be selfish, you don't even like selfish people, you do not think you're a selfish person. But let me just say: If you are planning something that you're not willing to share because of what you don't wanna hear, you are selfish because when your regret shows up, when that season comes, when you reap what you've sown, it's not just going to impact you. It's gonna impact the people that depend on you. It's gonna impact the people who love you. It's gonna impact the people that when things aren't going well for you, they have a hard time sleeping at night because they love you.

And to not factor that in and to not consider that, it means you're selfish, it means we're self-centered. Going back to what Solomon said, this is the big picture, it means we're trying to live our life as if life is not connected. Not only does today impact tomorrow, your decisions impact the people around you and the people who love you most and care for you most because not only is life connected, you're connected. So what are you intending to do that you don't intend to share because you don't wanna hear? You are masterminding your own regret. Moving on. Plans fail. You've heard this one before, I bet. In fact, you may not have known this was in the Old Testament. "Plans fail for a lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed".

Do you want your plans to succeed? Do you want your marriage to succeed? Do you want your relationship with your children to succeed, your relationship with your grandchildren? You want this new job to work? You want this second marriage to be the one? I mean, you wanna get this right? Plans fail for lack of input, but they succeed with a multitude of counselors. Here's another one. Again, this is a hard one. "Listen to advice and accept discipline". Do you know what discipline means in this context? It means correction. It means, "Hey, I'm gonna tell you what I'm thinking about doing, and I just want you to let me have it. Don't hold back". "Well, I think this is a terrible idea". "That's what I need to hear. I mean, I don't like it. It doesn't make me feel good, It makes me feel kind of stupid, but I wanna hear it".

Correction, pushback, feedback. But look at the promise. "Listen to advice and accept discipline and at the end..." Because, see, life is connected, one thing leads to another. You don't live in isolation relationally. And as time goes on, all the dots get connected. "And at the end you will be counted among the wise". You know what this means? And this should appeal to your ego, it does to mine. In the end you'll appear smarter than you really are. That's very important to me, right? In fact, quick story, okay? I have benefited from this whole idea so much. I've benefited from this idea so much, and it's because early, early on in my life I was exposed to this kind of teaching and I just took it seriously. So throughout my life I have just always tried to invite smarter people into the room anytime I'm making a decision.

So for example... And this impacts all of you even if you aren't part of one of our churches. In our organization we have a board, you know, we call 'em elders but it's a board. They're my bosses. It's a group that they could meet this afternoon and fire me, come in here next week and say, "Hey, Andy's gone. Sorry". You don't get to vote because it's a small group of people that controls my destiny, and that's how it should be. So we have a board that I answer to. Then we have another team, we call it a stewardship team. Their responsibility, these men and women look at the organization through the lens of just the finances of the organization. Then I have another group of people, our leadership team for the whole organization, their staff members.

Then I have another leadership team for one of our campuses. And when I meet with people who do what I do and we talk about structure... You know how you compare notes in industry, you know how you do things. Whenever I explain this to people who do what I do, 100% of the time they say the same thing. They say, "That's so many meetings"! And I say, "No, that is so many wise men and women who have access to me to ensure that we guard and guide this organization responsibly". That's what that is. They make me look way smarter than I actually am. I am the hood ornament that gets all the credit, catch a few bugs as well. But I am the hood ornament that gets so much credit for decisions that I made with a group of people who are way smarter than me.

And over and over and over through the years, they have talked me out of some really dumb decisions because of what Solomon says, he says, you shouldn't be surprised by this, "Listen to advice and accept discipline," Accept correction, accept pushback, accept, "You know what? That's just not a great idea, and here's why". And at the end... You know, once your child is 17 or 18 and leaving home, you know, in the end when you finally find the person you wanna spend the rest of your life with because you've navigated some that you probably shouldn't spend the rest of your life with; at the end of the process you will be counted among the wise. Isn't that what we all want?

And Solomon says the way you get there isn't by being the smartest person in the room, or even being the wisest person in the room, or being the most educated person in the room room, you are the person that is most open to the council and the wisdom of others even when it's uncomfortable, and even when it hurts, and even when it shuts you down. When I was a young leader years ago, I held onto this myth, and maybe you can relate to this, the myth that extraordinary leaders, they gave advice but they never sought advice, they didn't seek it and they didn't take it because they didn't need it. I mean, look at 'em go. I mean, they were just extraordinary leaders. And I just thought they just are born extraordinary. You know, how do you get to be that extraordinary? And then I had the opportunity through the years to meet some really amazing men and women who've led extraordinary organizations, for-profit, nonprofit, and I've discovered the ones that I have the most respect for, it's just the opposite.

In fact, I've had conversations with people who are way more accomplished than me, and they kept asking me questions. I had a hard time getting my question in. They continued to learn. They were wide open. They didn't feel like they had the corner on the market in their industry or on any market. They were so curious and they listened because they knew what some leaders never understand, that leaders who refuse to listen are eventually surrounded by people who have nothing helpful to say. Leaders who won't listen push the smart, talented, mature people away. And what's true in your organization or in organizational life is true in our personal lives as well. People who refuse to listen are eventually surrounded with people who have nothing helpful to say, or those people decide, "I'm not gonna say anything because I tried".

Here's something you thought about people you know, here's something you've said perhaps about people you know, "Ah, don't waste your time. Don't waste your time. She can't hear you. You can talk to him if you want, but he can't hear you. He won't hear you. I tried, they don't listen. You're wasting your time". And if that is true of you, you don't know it because nobody's gonna tell you, or they'll try to tell you but you'll just write 'em off. So listen. What does it hurt? Well, it hurts your feelings, right? And it hurts your ego and it hurts your pride. Me too. But so what? Because at the end of the day it's the wise who succeed because they're discerning, and they navigate life, and they navigate parenting, and in the navigate marriage, and they navigate money, and they navigate business better because they understand life is connected and they are connected.

So to wrap up I wanna give you four quick statements regarding what to listen to, how to listen and who to listen to. Four statements. There's so much more to say on this. Obviously there's volumes of things that have been written on this topic. I'm not trying to be exhaustive, obviously. But here are four things. And maybe I love these four things because they helped me. So number one, number one: Avoid the genetic fallacy. Which sounds strange. Here's what the genetic fallacy is, some of you know. The genetic fallacy is discounting information based on the source of the information rather than the merit of the information. It's discounting information or advice based on the source rather than the merit.

Now, all of us struggle with this. You see somebody and she wants to give you advice, and you're like, "Look at her family. I mean, is she gonna tell me how to raise my kids? I mean, have you seen her kids? They're a mess, right"? We do this, that's the genetic fallacy. In other words, "Anything she tells me, nothing she says to me could possibly be true or helpful. Look at her, look at the source". That is a mistake. The truth is, and this is kind of extreme but just so you'll remember it, bad people can give good advice. Bad people are capable of good advice. Don't buy the lie of cancel culture. And everybody is against cancel culture, but it's so easy to fall...

That's what cancel culture is, it's like, "No, their marriage failed, I can't listen to anything they have to say about marriage. Look at their kids, look at his business, look at their finances, look at their own health. I mean, you're gonna give me health? I mean, seriously"? I mean, it's just easy to go there. I mean, you know this. Cancel culture basically lowers the IQ of the entire culture, that's what cancel culture does. Or to say it more specifically or personally, if you suddenly forgot everything you've learned from an imperfect person, you would forget everything you know, including your name. If you suddenly forgot everything you've learned from imperfect people, you would forget everything you know, including your name, me as well.

So this is silly. And Christians, we should be so above this because we're the people that embraced the grace and forgiveness and the mercy of God. We believe that Jesus came into an imperfect world where everybody got most everything wrong and loved us anyway. So because of the foundation of grace and mercy in our own lives, we should be the people that are able to look past people's failures, people's faults, and tease out and be able to take away the merit of what they have to say regardless of what they've done or how they fail. But that's very, very difficult to do.

Number two. Let's move on. Don't assume expertise in one area makes you an expert in every area. This is kind of a guy thing, I'll just be honest, okay? Because success is intoxicating. Success is intoxicating. You think you're better than you really are. And when you're extraordinary or you're pretty good or recognized in one area, you think you're just pretty good in every area. That is absolutely not the case. And sometimes people who are super successful professionally, they struggle relationally because there's two different sets of tools, right? The more successful we are somewhere, the smarter we think we are everywhere. "I was a kid once, I know how to raise one". Yeah, you had a surgery once too. Yeah. "You're gonna surgery"? "Well, that's different". Well, it's the same logic: "Since I had one, I can do". And no, no, no. That's crazy, right?

Number three. Moving on. Don't confuse experience with insight. I mean, you said it, you've heard it, "I wasn't born yesterday". Well, we knew that, so? "This is not my first rodeo". Well, that just means you're good at rodeos. "I've been around the block a time or two". That just means you're dizzy. I don't know what that means. You know what this really means? It just means you're old, not necessarily wise. This is very important, okay? Experience doesn't make you wiser. Evaluated experience makes you wiser. The person that doesn't do an autopsy on their failure and grow from it, they're not gonna get any better, they're just creating a rut, doing the same thing over and over and over, and that just creates a rut, that doesn't create wisdom. Evaluated experience makes us wiser. Don't confuse experience with insight. Just because you've had a lot of experience, don't say, "Well, then I don't need to hear from anybody else". That's just absolutely not true.

Number four. Listen for: "I know. I know. I know. I know". We talked about this last time, but we gotta come back to it. When you hear yourself saying, "I know. I know," what you're really saying... You need to understand, the person on the other side of you, here's what they're hearing, "Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Go away. Go away. I know. I know". That's how you feel when somebody says, "I know. I know". Listen, when you catch yourself thinking, hearing that: "I know. I know," you need to uncross those arms. That may be the moment that you need to hear what you don't wanna hear the most.

As we said last week, knowing doesn't equal doing. One doesn't necessarily lead to the other. And knowing without doing is worse than not knowing because according to the book of Proverbs, according to Solomon, knowing and not doing makes you a fool, you're living as if life isn't connected. "I know what I ought to, I know what the best thing is, I know the wise thing, but I'm just not going to do it". Solomon would say you're a fool. Again, you're masterminding your own regret.

So wrapping up. We've all said it, we've all thought it: "I should have listened. Ah, I should have listened. I should have listened". Refusing to listen is a gateway decision, it leads to regret. We've all thought or we've all said, "I should have seen that coming. I should have seen that coming. I should have seen that coming". Odds are somebody saw it coming and they either felt so shut down they weren't even gonna try or they tried to tell you and you just wouldn't listen. Or they would have told you they saw it coming if you had or I had invited them into the decision making process earlier. The bottom line is, for me and for you, Somebody can see what you can't see.

And somebody who cares about you who can see what you can't see, why would we not listen? Why would we not just uncross our arms? Why would we not say, "Okay, I know this is gonna hurt. I know I may have heard this before, but, you know what, just bring it on"? So in the words of James, the brother of Jesus, he says, "We should be quick to listen and slow to speak". And if that becomes the habit of our lives, if that becomes the posture of our lives, we will be glad we did, and the people we love the most and the people who depend on us the most will be glad we did as well. And we will pick it up right there next time in part three of "You'll Be Glad You Did: Timeless Advice for Troubled Times". Let's pray together:

Heavenly Father, it's easy to stand up here and talk about, but it just... My pride, it just rises up every time, it's so foolish, it's so foolish. So Father, for the man or woman, they feel like, "Oh my goodness, who told him"? just give them the wisdom not to close their computer, turn off their television, walk out of the building, and just try to put this behind 'em. Give them the wisdom to embrace it because who knows what's on the other side of that decision they're considering. Father for those listening today who are like, "Oh, I'm so glad somebody else heard this," I pray that we would all pause and say, "Yeah, but what did I need to hear"? So wherever this lands with us, give us the wisdom to know what to do and give us the courage and the humility to do it. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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