Ep. 449 How to Motivate Christians to Stop Caring So Much

Ep. 24 How to Motivate Christians to Stop Caring So Much

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Shows Main Idea – It sounds odd to title this podcast episode with a plea to stop caring so much, so let me explain. One of the side effects of chronic, debilitating sickness among caring friends is unsolicited advice from folks who love you. Yes, there is a tension here: you want them to care for you, but there can be an unwitting burden attached to their advice as they suggest the latest cure or Google research.

Show Notes

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Caring Christians

For example, have you ever shared a health-prayer request with others, and then you began to receive a lot of unsolicited health advice and the latest cure? This scenario plays out all the time, and it should be because Christians are the most caring people in the world. Year in and year out, we donate the most money and provide more resources to the hurting and homeless than anyone else.

We’re the world’s largest volunteer army, going about doing good for the sake of Christ. On a micro-level, we do similar things for each other, making house visits, phone calls, soliciting funds for others, and preparing meals. These things are what we do. We’re Christians. Why do we do these things? It’s the gospel.

However, the burden of the sickness and endless advice complicate the hurting person’s soul, amping up their soul noise as they wrestle with what’s wrong with them.

Assorted Stories

  • Too many bisons
  • Chronic friend, endless advice
  • Lucia’s miscarriage
  • Lucia’s delayed birth
  • Back trouble in Alaska

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Two Levels of Care

It takes discernment when giving advice. You want to read the room while praying about whether this is helpful or you’re mapping your success story over them, as though God is writing the same narrative for them.

  • Level one: “I care for you, which is why I’m giving you advice.”
  • Level two: “I care for you, which is why I’m not giving you advice.” or, “I’m going to give you carefully ‘caveated’ advice that releases you from any expectation to follow through with what I’m suggesting to you.”

Temptations of the Sick

Here are three considerations that may tempt the sick person.

  • Fear of man: “I don’t want to disappoint them by rejecting their advice.”
  • Self-righteousness: “I’m frustrated about all this advice I’m receiving from others.”
  • Doubt: “I wonder if they are right and if I’m making a mistake.”

Suffer and Lead

Have you ever thought about how suffering works with the gift of leadership? When a person is suffering, they must know how to lead themselves through it or become victims of their suffering. Christian men, women, and children must not choose to “sit this one out.”

Analogous to Christ in Gethsemane, when the men were sleeping on the job while He suffered. He suffered, and He led. Suffering well assumes leading well.

Help for the Sick

  • Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
  • Have a close network of competent friends.

Direct Video Messages

Framework Response

Thank you so much for your care. I consider it an honor that you care for me, especially now. Right now, I believe (and I would not hold back from dropping the “God card” right here) God wants me to follow (fill in the blank) advice.

They have laid out a plan for me, and I believe this is the best direction for me, at least for now. If the Lord leads in another direction, I’m most definitely open to it. And though I know you have already, please pray for me. Be assured that I will consider your advice.

As you can imagine, this is new for me, so I’m holding my plans loosely. Again, thank you for your care. Your care and prayers are the things that bring me daily encouragement.

This kind of framework will let them know that (1) you are “in faith” for what you’re doing, and (2) you are drawing a clear line while not being dismissive of their care, which only the truth can do.

Call to Action

  1. What is your takeaway from the episode? What is one way you can change?
  2. Perhaps talking to a person in chronic pain would be an enlightening conversation for you and a burden-lifting one for them.
  3. To the sufferer: Are you bitter with all the unsolicited advice folks give you? If so, what is your plan to change yourself so you don’t complicate your physical problems with spiritual ones?
  4. Do you have someone who can help protect you from and process all the advice, perhaps a spouse, parent, pastor, or spiritual leader?

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