Ever have your friend ask you for advice and you have NO idea what to say? You kind of feel like Chandler on Friends… Ha. We can all agree it is so much easier to give someone advice when he or she is dealing with a situation you previously experienced. I could counsel anyone on diet changes, eating healthy, or living with food allergies because that is my life.
But there have been many times when my friend or family member asks for my opinion, and I have not experienced what he or she is going through. How do we approach situations like these? The Bible says we should be quick to listen and slow to speak, so I start by letting my friend just talk—no interruptions. Get all the details on the table. And that’s when I turn to the Bible; reading Scripture is a great way to start, especially when you don’t know what to say. This will never fail you my friends—God’s word has the answer to every problem. Praying with your friend is another thing you should do. Ask God to open their eyes and give them guidance through their struggle.
By listening to and praying with your friend, you are exemplifying God’s love in their life. And this is huge, my friends. Because you may be the only Christian in their life—they need you to show them who Jesus is!
The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.
Now lets turn this around. When you need advice on a specific situation, to whom do you turn? Do you ask someone who is going to give you the advice you want to hear or the one who will give you the advice you need to hear? We know the gospel is not based on human reasoning (Galatians 1:11), but sometimes we try to reason our way through a situation. Then, we find that friend or family member who always agrees with our own reasoning, justifying our thought process. Anyone guilty of this?
Proverbs 20:18 says, “Plans succeed through good counsel.” I hate to break it to you, but when your friend is agreeing with your human reasoning, that is not good counsel. We all need at least one person who can give us Biblically sound advice—basing their counsel on the Word of God versus their own logic. I can always count on my mom to give good advice; God definitely gave her the gift of counseling and encouragement. She bases her response on God’s truth rather than on emotion. Our emotions change and can lead us astray, but God’s truth is never changing. She is the type of person you want to get input from.
The bottom line is this—yes plans succeed from good counsel, but be careful what you define as “good.” Find at least one person who can give you Biblically based advice, whether it’s a friend, family member, pastor, or co-worker. And then when you receive Biblical advice that isn’t exactly what you want to hear, don’t think your way is still the answer. “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others” Proverbs 12:15.