In making our own decisions – or in sticking with them –  Even if you pay good money for advice, it may be wrong. You have to honor your conscience, and consider the attitudes of the person giving advice. Sometimes it's just gossip!

It can be hard  to exercise our own good conscience

without being too strongly influenced by the opinions of others.  How do we do that?

A.  OPINIONS GIVEN IN GOOD FAITH:

Sometimes, of course, someone may be giving us negative input and may in fact be right.  It does happen.  Or they may be mostly right, but still wrong about the final decision we must make.

IF you feel they really try to UNDERSTAND THE ISSUE, AND YOU, and treat the issue and you with some respect, then they are likely worth some attention.  They might be wrong, might have prejudices or blind spots, but are still probably worth some serious attention.

We have to be able to listen to and evaluate good-faith input without automatically agreeing. And sometimes we have to go ahead with our own conviction anyway.

B.  THE DANGER OF MAKING MISTAKES:

IF they really try to UNDERSTAND THE ISSUE, AND YOU, then they might be wrong, might have prejudices or blind spots, but are still probably worth some serious attention.
But suppose we’re wrong?  Well, it wouldn’t be the first time!  It’s not such a great life-tragedy to try something with all our energy and turn out to be wrong.  Happens all the time.  And usually the people who have succeeded at something important have flopped at it, or other things, several times before they got there, or while they were getting there.

C.  ARE THERE SOME PEOPLE WE SHOULD NOT LISTEN TO?

Besides – well, people talk. Even without our permission! And people will think and say stupid things. But if ignorant, OR hateful, that input (or gossip) should be allowed to carry little or no weight. It’s time for the old saying, “Who made you the boss of me?”

The point is - before God we really do have freedom to honor our own convictions and our own conscience - AND our own choices. In fact, we are required to.Click To TweetIf they lack a minimum of courteous respect (and way too many people in all of our lives do lack genuine respect for us and our situations) then their opinions about us are probably not worth much. We still try to love them and treat them nicely. But sometimes that’s easier said than done; and sometimes it’s probably not worth the effort to have them in our lives.

But the point is – before God we really do have freedom to honor our own convictions

and our own conscience – AND our own choices.  In fact, we are required to.

So I try to be nice to some certain people, and I also try to not let their prejudices or even contempt carry more weight than is appropriate.