Confident people, adamant people, insisting people, bold people, loud people- these are who we tend to listen to and believe.
These qualities give us a sense that a person knows what they’re talking about and is to be trusted. Trouble is, sometimes we forget to look into a person’s credentials or test the truth of what they’re saying. Is the person who is speaking qualified to speak about such a subject? Are they radically biased? Are they looking at multiple points of view? Do they care about you as a human being? Or are they just trying to get something out of you for themselves?
I’ve personally had a History of listening most to the loudest voices in my life- Do I go to Thanksgiving with my family, my boyfriend, or my friends? “Well, who is the most insistent? They must care about me being there the most,” thinks I. When really it could be that the family and friends care more about my autonomy and letting me make my own decisions, while the boyfriend really wants me to do what he wants me to do. What is the answer to this homework question? Whoever speaks up loudest in the group is who I’d listen to, likely without asking for reasoning or explanation. Sitting at lunch with a group of people- who’s story do I listen to? The person who has everyone’s attention, who is a good story teller, who is popular. – Thankfully I am continuously growing in learning to stop blindly doing what the most convincing person says.
This always-listening-to-the-loudest thing can be dangerous. That’s not to say that loud, confident people are not sometimes great good-intentioned and correct; it’s just to say there are times that they are not, and there are times that they are very misleading (sometimes to large groups of individuals). It can be dangerous in your relationships, causing you to neglect and not listen to those friends who are quieter or less persistent. It can be dangerous for you professionally, if you do not look at research, trends and biases/ test what people are saying. It is also dangerous when it comes to your faith:
“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there are false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them- bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into dispute.” 2 Peter 2:1-2
If we do not have a firm foundation in what we believe is true and right, we will be like leaves drifting wherever the wind blows them- listening to who is the loudest, or who says what we want to hear. If we have a firm foundation in scripture, we’ll be able to make decisions and test what is true with confidence and not feel tugged back and forth as we listen to loud, contradicting arguments.
I must say, I’ve felt tugged back and forth on multiple occasions in my life. But I’m grateful to say that the Lord has provided me with special opportunity to grow in the area of testing what is true, knowing what I believe and why, and practically dialoging with the “loud” sort of person. He’s put a boss in my life who loves to challenge me professionally- put me on the spot, always ask me why I make the decisions I make, ask me to recite the foundation and science behind our practices. The type of person I am feels very uncomfortable with this sort of pressure- but y’all, I am growing so much. I am learning to think for myself and be able to defend well my choices, and I’m very thankful for this woman’s presence and challenge in my life. Though this is an example of defending decisions in my professional setting, I find it also applies to areas of faith and relationships. E.g. having productive/practical/cordial conversations about why I believe what I do about the Bible being God’s word, what the Gospel is etc. , standing up for my boundaries with friends/family/boyfriends who are may be pushy, unreasonable, unfair, or or ask too much.
There is so much more to say regarding this subject- it’s my lifelong struggle! But since I’m 700 words in and it’s my bedtime, I will just say that the small changes the Lord has wrought in me in this are have given me much greater peace, joy, faith in God, and love for others. So perhaps consider praying for the Lord to give you more faith and confidence in Him and His word (and then reading his Word so you have knowledge of it for that foundation, yeah?). That is certainly something I will continue to pray for for myself, and my friends, and for you- whoever you are 🙂
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cudding and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15-16