Greetings to all. Thanks for joining me today. Here’s a little character check for you to start off the week. How good are you at taking suggestions or advice, especially when it concerns a job or task you’ve been doing for years, one you may have been praised for regularly? Well, if you’re like most of us, you are better at giving it than receiving it. I previously wrote about handling criticism. Although how we handle both of them are good ways to measure our character, I think that advice is generally more kindhearted than criticism. Even so, when others offer us a word of advice, I think our first thought will almost always be that the one offering it is basically telling us we can do better, and that in turn will immediately spark a negative emotion. After we reflect for a few minutes, any anger, resentment, or indignation we may have felt, will almost always subside. That’s when we realize that nobody is exempt when it pertains to receiving advice or suggestions from others. That’s when we understand that we can always learn and improve. Proverbs 1:5 says: Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. Ironically, whenever we’ve reached the point where we think we don’t need it anymore, that’s when we need advice the most. It’s like the momma whale told the baby whale: “When you get to the top and start letting off steam, that’s when you’re more likely to get harpooned.”
A good thing to remember when we get advice is (1) listen politely and (2) carefully consider the source. The book of Psalms starts with this verse: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. (Ps. 1:1) Although we must be careful not to offend, clearly it would not be very wise to follow the advice of ungodly people or those who delight in putting others down.
Another thing to keep in mind is that good advice can come in many ways, sometimes even from the unlikeliest of sources. A mother got this sound advice from her little girl regarding how we handle the grief of a friend or loved one. She asked her one day: “Mommy, can I go next door to Sally’s house? Her little puppy died yesterday and I want to help her.” Her mom asked, “And how are you going to help her? She answered, “I’m gonna go cry with her.” Now, there’s a valuable bit of advice for all of us, don’t you think?
Memory verse for the week: Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.