How to make sure you never learn, grow, or keep strong friendships

I’ll give you the 4 ingredients:

Be unteachable. But convince yourself that you really are teachable and that you just don’t know very many people that know as much as you do about the matter – especially since they don’t happen to be on your preferred list of authors, speakers, teachers, mentors, etc., that you learned most of what you know from. So, listen to others with a critical ear, not a hungry mind. Because a hungry mind would mean that you still want to learn and grow, and it would also imply that you could learn something from anyone or anything no matter how far beneath you, which, of course, are impossibilities for those who have already arrived.

Be above correction. Rarely be open to the honest concern of others that you might be wrong, because, if you were wrong, you’d already know it, wouldn’t you? Dig in your heels and say (or at least think), “No, you’re wrong.” Besides, why should you listen to their concerns, when if they were teachable they’d be listening to you? How could you possibly be wrong? You’ve already considered every perspective, every fact, every possibility and come to the indisputably correct and wisest conclusion.

C.H. Spurgeon described the person characterized by these first 2 like this:

“None is so wise as the man who knows nothing. His ignorance is the mother of his impudence and the nurse of his obstinacy; and as if all wisdom were at his fingers’ ends – the Pope himself is not more infallible.”

Never say your sorry. At least not quickly. And even then only when it’s an absolute necessity (like if they demand it). Saying your sorry implies that you think you were wrong, which, of course, you rarely are. Besides, they know you really love/like them, so there’s no need to act all humble about it. They just need to get over it and not let it affect the relationship. Saying you’re sorry is for doormats who let others make them feel bad. So, put away all self-doubt and redouble your self-confidence.

Be easily offended. Keep your pride and personal insecurities so close to the surface that you are able to quickly react to others with the assumption that they meant to do you wrong. And never question whether you’re right to make this assumption. Use words, actions, or body language that make it clear that you feel annoyed, insulted, or wounded, and that you expect them to apologize. Never consider exercising the option to not be offended, or to show love by overlooking the matter. You’re an important person, with legitimate rights and expectations, and they’d better treat you with respect!

Protecting these four traits in your life, and not allowing anyone or anything to make you more teachable, correctable, quick to apologize, or slow to be offended, is a good recipe for poisoning humility and love at the roots, and killing the vine of fulfilling, lasting relationships with the excuse that it’s always their fault, rarely yours.

Of course if you want to grow, learn, love, and flourish in your marriage and friendships, then begin with some self-examination, some confession of your own sins and tendencies to act in the ways listed above, and then with the strength-giving grace of Christ, repent.

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3 Responses to How to make sure you never learn, grow, or keep strong friendships

  1. Brent Peak says:

    Excellent message, Scott. This one’s definitely getting shared on Twitter and Facebook.

  2. Mike Achee says:

    Scott! I’ve been trying to find you for a long time! Email me sometime so we can catch up.

    Mike

  3. Andria says:

    You should practice what you preach.

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