The Worst Advice

When I find myself thrown into a conversation with someone who is really struggling, my first goal is to say nothing that can harm them. The worst advice I could give them would be to encourage them to act in a way that will only make their situation worse. Oftentimes, though, this is the advice they expect to hear. It is the advice that our culture would naturally give. For instance, if your best friend is struggling in her marriage, she may expect you to “support” her by advising her to “put him in his place.” She may want you to validate the choices that she has been making because her husband deserves to be treated like a child. He is, after all, making her miserable and turning her into a sour person. When, really, the correct advice would be the opposite. Your best friend can’t expect to be able to change her husband. The only person she can change is herself. The more she tries to force her husband to change, the worse her situation will become.

God doesn’t put people into situations in which there are no right choices. There is always a right choice, even if that choice goes against our worldly reasoning. He doesn’t put wives into situations in which they cannot serve Him fully because their husbands won’t behave properly. Another person cannot come between her and God’s will for her life. Only she can do that. Instead of waiting for her husband to come ‘round, or instead of constantly nagging her husband and telling him what horrible decisions he makes or how badly he treats her, she should focus her energy on making each right choice in her life as she comes to it. What is the godly thing to do in this moment? She should do it. Five minutes later…what is the godly choice now? She should choose it. Advise her to treat her husband with the respect that his office demands, serving God and others in the meantime.

If she truly submits to the will of her husband, and can treat him respectfully in love and without sarcasm, he will probably come ‘round eventually. If not, well, people have suffered worse for the cause of Christ. This life is merely temporary anyway, and every situation will come to an end eventually. I heard a pastor quote yesterday, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It’s been tried, and it doesn’t work. Wives cannot force their husbands to change. They can merely do what is good and right on a consistent basis, and hope that their husbands “may without the word be won by the conversation [lifestyle] of the wives.” 1 Peter 3:1

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12 responses to “The Worst Advice

  1. This is a terrific post for husbands as well as wives. We’re destined to come upon hard decisions and the point is not to take the easy way, but to take the right way.

    I’ve been in too many situations where people choose the easy way, and I when I state the right way their reply is “well, I can’t do that.” You can, because you can do all things though Christ!

    • Right! And the real kicker is, taking the right way will make things better for you in the long run! “All things work together…” That’s sort of a selfish reason to do right, I know, but it’s also true. When we do our own thing instead, we’re basically saying to God that we know better than He does what is best for us in our current situation.

      • I think that stems back to our culture to some degree. We have a hard time with “delayed gratification.” We want we want and we want it right now (or yesterday, depending on who you ask). I think that’s part of the reason for some apathetic soul winning. We want to see that conversion now, and since the process doesn’t lend itself to now, we don’t do it.

        You’re most certainly right that all things work together for good.

      • Hmmm. I never would have thought of delayed gratification, but it’s absolutely sound reasoning. Very interesting. If we do things God’s way and wait on God, we do just that: wait. I guess that was Sarah’s problem with waiting on the promised child. She was tired of waiting, and in the process, she made things harder on herself. I’ve never thought about soul-winning that way either, but it makes sense to me!

      • In some ways, Heaven is delayed gratification– something that we look forward to that we don’t have now.

        As far as soul winning, I’m not sure it’s as much an event (I prayed a prayer) as a process (I believe in God and trust Him). The event is probably a culmination of a lot of prayer, the Holy Spirit, etc. Often we don’t realize that most of the time there are those that plant, water and harvest– many of us want to be the harvesters!

      • I believe you are precisely right – soul winning is a process. God brings the right people into contact with each other at precisely the right times in their lives to prepare the soil in preparation for salvation. He desires for everyone to come to salvation, and will do what it takes to see that each soul has that opportunity. That’s why we should always be friendly to stangers, acquaintances, family, and friends. Always loving, giving, and ready to serve. We never know how we might affect them for the Kingdom (positively or negatively).

  2. AND . . . They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength! That means, I think, that backing up and waiting for Him to take over is a grat time to rest on it and renew the soul, etc.
    Great conversation, here.

    • Yes! There is definitely a peace that comes with giving control of your life over to God. A liberty – it’s not up to us to make sure everything turns out okay in the end. And knowing that brings freedom from worry and stress. It’s our job to make one right decision after another, without worrying about where those decisions will take us in the long run. The ultimate goal is heaven, of course! I’ve never met most of you? Do you think we will remember these conversations when we get there, or will we meet everyone from scratch?

  3. I’ve always thought that we’d know family, and from there, who knows?

    • I hope we’ll remember everyone we’ve come into contact with, but that we’ll start from where we left off and have an eternity to continue to develop friendships with every citizen that we meet!

  4. Me? What do I think?
    I think when I get to Heaven, I will be so awe-struck with being in the presence of the glory of the Lamb, that I will not notice anyone else. Sorry. But not too.

    • Don’t be sorry! 🙂 Good thought, but I’m sure we will eventually get around to appreciating everything else that He has prepared for us, in addition to worshipping Him and getting to know Him better and better forever! (Wouldn’t want those streets of gold or mansions to go to waste.)
      🙂

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