Sometimes when I give advice, I wonder how it will be taken. Will the person listen? Will the person appreciate the counsel? Did I choose the correct time to speak? Was the counsel wanted? In other words, did I have any business giving the advice in the first place?
“There are times when a counsellor has good cause to be proud; nothing better than the right word spoken.”
God’s Word is encouraging. God says there’s “nothing better than the right word spoken.” Still, can I assume I gave good advice and the counsel was welcomed? Did I speak truth in love?
After all, advice without love, counsel without kindness is relatively worthless. The person is less likely to hear the truth and the counsel if love is absent.
“The right word spoken” says God is what is best. Not just any word spoken, but advice or counsel or truth which meets a need perceived. This is speaking the truth in love.
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:20-21 ESV)
Ever tried to give advice to someone who doesn’t accept it? On a more personal note, this was my life with my husband. If I gave him advice — not instruction — he resented it and me. And, no matter that my advice emerged because I loved him; at least early in our marriage. Later, the marriage was poisoned by so much, I can’t honestly say that my advice didn’t become instruction! Whether advice or instruction, he never accepted either.
Some people don’t want any help; they can’t even admit a need for help. “I’m fine,” they say. “No, I don’t need anything from you;” or even “Leave me alone, would you!” These people have everything well planned for; life is set. In their minds, they lack nothing.
“But it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” The wise seek advice and accept instruction. They know they need both so that the future is secure, good, easier, and most importantly, pleasing to God. The more we know about God, the better prepared we are to please Him. Seeking instruction is commonsense for the Christian.
Instruction in the Word is first and foremost. Advice for living is secondary but important, too. Therefore, seek out advice. Listen to instruction, and “so gain wisdom.”
God says that if you listen to advice and accept instruction from others, “in the end you will be wise.”
You may have many plans in your heart, “but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3: 3 – 6)
God’s purpose prevails; as you acknowledge Him, He makes your paths straight.
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” (Proverbs 2: 7)
Wisdom is “more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of [wisdom] will be blessed.” (Proverbs 3: 15 – 18)
God’s purpose prevails; as you fear Him, He makes your paths pleasant and peaceful.
“You will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.” (Proverbs 3: 23)