“…If I was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, remember that it was to persuasion exerted on the side of safety, not of risk. When I yielded, I thought it was to duty, but no duty could be called in aid here. In marrying a man indifferent to me, all risk would have been incurred, and all duty violated.” ~ Anne Elliot, Persuasion by Jane Austen
As a young girl, Anne Elliot fell in love with and became engaged to Frederick Wentworth. However, Anne was of a nobel class and Fredrick was not. Compiled with a lack of fortune, he was deemed a bad match. Lady Russell stepped in, acting as a substitute mother, and persuaded Anne to end her engagement. She was 19.
Eight years later, the former couple is thrust together again. This time Wentworth is a Captain in the Navy and has made a considerable fortune; and the Elliots have been forced to let their home to pay Sir Elliot’s debts. After many misunderstandings, Anne and Frederick renew their engagement. In the quote above they are speaking of how the past made Frederick weary of believing Anne could still really love him—especially when her cousin, the future Sir Elliot, seemed like a more supported match.
I picked this quote out because I often wonder when to allow myself to be persuaded and when to stand my ground. How does one know when one is right? Anne explains she first yielded to duty. But, she could not yield to her family and friends encouragement to marry Mr. Elliot because she knew he did not really love her. And she did not really love him—she loved Captain Wentworth.
I’m not sure whether Anne’s explanation gives us solid guidance on knowing when we are right to ignore persuasion but, if she were to give a straight forward answer, I believe she would tell us—be true to your heart. Do what you deeply feel is the most righteous course of action. Let your conscience be your guide….
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. ~ 1 Timothy 1:5 ESV
In addressing how not to be deceived by the teachings (or persuasions) of others, John writes:
But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. ~ 1 John 2:27 ESV
When we place our faith in Christ and ask him to place His Spirit in our hearts, His Spirit nudges us along right paths…
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. ~ Isaiah 30:51 ESV
So, how do we know when to follow the persuasions (the guidance or counsel) of our friends or family? Pray about it, and then let your conscience (directed by the Spirit) be your guide.
And, for my favorite verse….
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP