Saturday, 4 May 2013

Empty Advice

I love giving advice to people. I like helping people with their problems. These are good things. However, I like to be liked and I don't like upsetting people. So sometimes my advice consists of what I know people want me to say. I will avoid saying what I actually think and just simply agree with them or tell them what they hope I'll tell them.

The Bible does tell us to be gentle in our words. It is not right to needlessly upset and hurt people. Also, it is wrong to judge non-Christians by Christian standards. However, if your advice is merely to keep people happy and to make people like you, you're going to end up giving them unhelpful advice. In the end, when they find themselves in trouble after doing what you told them to, they are not going to thank you.

Proverbs 28:23 tells us:
Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favour rather than one who has a flattering tongue.
Proverbs 27:6 is also helpful if you are on the receiving end of harsh advice:
Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
However, I'm sure I'm not the only one. So, I'm going to need your advice on this one:

  • Are there occasions when giving the Biblical approach to a situation will not be applicable (i.e. when dealing with non-Christians)?
  • How do you strike the balance between gentleness and truthful advice?
  • Are there some circumstances when you should withhold your advice and suggest they get it from someone else?

So, next time somebody asks me advice, I will probably warn them that it might not be what they want to hear.

Quick questions

  • What's the worse or best advice you've ever had?
  • Do you find the balance between gentleness and truth hard?

1 comment:

  1. I think a lot of it depends on where our motivation comes from. If we're giving advice because we think we're right, or because we think that what that person doing is wrong and we want to correct them, then I think that it can often come across badly.
    However, if we've prayed about something, and we actually feel like God is prompting us to speak to that person and pray with them, then we are going under His agenda rather than our own. I think that God will not use us for every advice giving to our friends, sometimes He will use someone else, and it is simply our responsibility to pray.


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