I have noticed that people are often seeking advice from any and everyone. They will post on Facebook a request for doctors, mechanics, surgeons, plumbers or will simply ask a question/discuss a problem and they get blown up with more advice than anyone person can manage.
But is that the best way? God tells us in Psalm 1:1 that…
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…”
Now does that mean that asking anyone for advice on a good mechanic is a bad thing? Not hardly. But on the important matters in life, getting good godly advice from a fellow believer is a good thing. I believe that God takes us through some of the trials we experience to help guide others through the same challenges later. If we share our experience with them, especially when they are challenged to the very core of their soul, it can give them hope in a very dark place.
In my own experiences, I have been through more than a few pits and valleys. I have scars that run deep. Yet, I have used those stories to help others more times than I can count. TD Jakes, pastor of The Potter’s House, once said –
“I was at a pastors conference and they were all telling stories of long lives of faith, never knowing a moment without Christ. Lives filled with strong family histories of faith in Christ going back generations. While these stories are great and wonderful, You can’t help me! You’ve never been to the pit or grown up in a single parent home. You know your father, many don’t. You don’t know what it’s like to visit family in prison or to hear fighting in the bedroom late at night. You can’t help me.”
To often we discount the broken as having nothing to offer. Too many times, the church is the worst about this. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to go to the bar to get advice on how to kick an addiction to alcohol or how to help someone who is. But I am telling you that maybe you should go to someone who is actively winning the battle of sobriety and has done so for years.
One final note:
Christians, do not throw religious cliches at someone who is struggling and in need of your advice. They can be useless, hurtful and lead to alienation. Be practical and specific. Use words that the person can relate too. Don’t just tell them Bible stories, tell them your story. Be real with them, even if it makes you vulnerable and exposed. Lead them through it by being someone who doesn’t try to fix them but encourages them. If the problem or need is beyond you, don’t be afraid to say so. Seek out the counsel of someone else who might know. The main word of advice here is to love them in the pit, let them know that they are not alone.
Dr.Cliff Robertson, Jr.
2 Timothy 4:2