When we see the people around us hurting or struggling with something, we may feel like we’ve got the answers or the right advice for them. But if we don’t have the right approach, we can end up making things worse. Good ideas and advice are wasted when we try and force them on other people. Proverbs 12:23 says: ‘The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge’ (NLT). If our desire to help comes from wanting to show off how much we know, we’re doing it for the wrong reason. If we’re not sure it’s from God, then we need to ask for wisdom about whether to say it all. But if God is leading us to say something, we should pray for wisdom about the right time and the right way to say it. ‘The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered’ (Proverbs 17:27 NIV). Timing is really important when we’re giving advice. If people aren’t ready to receive it, then it won’t help. Sometimes it’s obvious to us when someone isn’t ready to listen; other times we may misjudge the situation. We can always ask God to open their minds to what we feel we need to say. But our efforts at helping someone to change may fail, unless we approach them in love and humility. If we don’t approach them in the right way, they may respond with a ‘who-are-you-to-tell-me’ attitude. The Bible says: ‘Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones’ (Proverbs 16:24 NIV). We shouldn’t approach people in a judgmental, critical or harsh way. We need to be sharing kind, encouraging and supportive words if we want to be taking the right approach in helping others.
Are you feeling like you need to give advice to someone? Spend some time asking God for wisdom about what to say, and when and how you should do it
The UCB Word For You