WHEN GIVING ADVICE GETS TRICKY

Intro:

In my last but one post, I advised that we should hang out with those whose kind and thoughtful words energise us. You can see the whole post by clicking on the title below:

AS YOU STEP OUT TODAY

It was a very short post but from the feedback, I noticed that some of my young friends thought I was preaching a disregard for all opposing views or that I meant we should do whatever pleases us. This piece which I’d earlier written but had not posted corrects that impression and broadens the discourse somewhat. Read and be blessed!

WHEN GIVING ADVICE GETS TRICKY

Picture having a conversation with a friend and he or she inserts the following question at some point.

“X and I shouldn’t feel guilty about sleeping together, should we? I mean, we’re practically married. Our parents know we are together and all that.”

This is what is called a leading question. Your friend isn’t so much fishing for answers as for a specific answer, “No, you shouldn’t.” Or if you want to emphasise it because you truly feel the same way, “Of course not, you shouldn’t!”

Any other answer may trigger an argument, hurt feelings, a strained or broken relationship. Why? Because when someone asks a leading question on a sensitive and personal matter like this, they are trying to manipulate you to give a predetermined answer or they are just hoping that put in that light, you will certainly see things from their point of view.

People yearn for affirmation for themselves and endorsement of their beliefs and practices. Click To Tweet

Human beings have a strong need for affirmation for themselves and endorsement of their beliefs and practices. Most times, they have taken a position before they seek your opinion. And God help you if that opinion contradicts or challenges theirs! A famous American writer, John Steinbeck, put it this way: “No one wants advice, only corroboration.”

No one wants advice, only corroboration. - John Steinbeck #quote See #blog. Click To Tweet

As Christians, we should be loving in speaking to others. We should be encouraging and uplifting. But there’s a limit to how far we can do that. The line is drawn where the person’s views and actions run counter to the word of God. We need as the Bible says, to speak the truth in love and not be partakers in other people’s sins (Ephesians 4:15, 1 Timothy 5:22). The Blible also teaches that dishonesty and flattery, which are often used to mask our true feelings when we disagree with people, are wrong. (Job is speaking in the second and third passages below.)

“Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.” – Proverbs 12:22 (ESV)

“I won’t discriminate against anyone, and I won’t flatter any person.” – Job 32:21 (ISV)

“I have to speak—I have no choice. I have to say what’s on my heart, And I’m going to say it straight— the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I was never any good at bootlicking; my Maker would make short work of me if I started in now!” – Job 32:20-22 (MSG)

What it boils down to is: where is our allegiance? Is it to the Lord or to our friend? If it is to the Lord, we should not answer lightly when we feel “trapped” by the type of situation described above. We should ask the Lord for wisdom to share what is right humbly and lovingly. This might not always be appreciated, nor will it always ensure that our relationships with the party concerned remain intact, but we would have honoured the Lord and done our duty. But that duty doesn’t end if our friend takes offence. We are to continue to lift them up in prayer that the Lord will reach and restore them by His mighty power.

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It goes without saying that the shoe could be on the other foot another day. Would you be open to listen to the clear teaching of Scripture on a matter that you are struggling with? Or would you keep searching till you find someone who will laud your line of thinking? The Bereans in the Bible had questions about Paul’s teaching and referred to the Scriptures for confirmation (Acts 17:11). They were commended for this but the Bible warns us against the opposite:

“For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.” – 2 Tim. 4:3 (NLT)

We should be open to godly advice even when it runs counter to our views. Click To Tweet

May we never be among that number in Jesus’ name. May God bring into our lives the right friends, those who don’t tear us down unnecessarily but uphold us in love and tell us the truth from His word that we might get better to His glory in Jesus’ name.

Further scriptural references:

“In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.” – Proverbs 28:23 (NLT)

“They treat the wound of my people as if it were nothing: ‘All is well, all is well,’ they insist, when in fact nothing is well.” – Jeremiah 8:11 (CEB)

“You bring shame on me among my people for a few handfuls of barley or a piece of bread. By lying to my people who love to listen to lies, you kill those who should not die, and you promise life to those who should not live.” – Ezekiel 13:19 (NLT)

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“Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” – Galatians 4:16 (ESV)

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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.

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52 thoughts on “WHEN GIVING ADVICE GETS TRICKY

  1. “I have to speak—I have no choice. I have to say what’s on my heart, And I’m going to say it straight— the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I was never any good at bootlicking; my Maker would make short work of me if I started in now!” This is awesome. Every believer should run away from lies. We must not be sycophants. We must be truthful. God wants us to uphold the truth in all things, nothing but the truth.

    • I was struck by the phrasing of that verse in the Message Bible too. You are right. As children of God, we should not compromise the truth. Jesus warns us in the Book of John that the devil is the father of all liars. Have a pleasant vacation, Kelechi!

  2. truth is sacred and should not be compromised for any reason…. Life becomes a disaster apar from GOD…. nice write up.

    • Glory to God and thanks a bunch, Tammy! Hope your preparation for the new school year hasn’t been stressful. God’s grace, my dear!

  3. I know we all should be truthful to the glory of God but sometimes giving out the truth in a harsh and authoritative tone makes no sense. We can tell the truth as it is while adding a smooth sensation to the situation. No one enjoys getting hurt but yes, I agree, truth should be told.

  4. These are some salient truths that many innocent christians may never know. May God replenish that well of inspiration in you. Thanks.

  5. There comes a time when it gets tricky indeed. And when those times come, one needs some touches of wisdom to know know how best to solve the problem.
    In my honest opinion, I believe that at times our silence is much better than our outspokenness.

    Nice one my lecturer, you are gifted indeed. Keep inspiring!

  6. Thanks for sharing. Sometimes giving advice becomes tricky when the person is not a fellow believer. Then again, sometimes giving advice to fellow believers can be tricky as well. That is why it is always best to say when sharing, let’s go to the Word to see what GOD says and that gives the person who is giving the advice a way out. If the receiver is upset, they have to be mad at God. Thanks for sharing your post. 🙂

    • Thanks a lot for dropping by, Charlene! You’re right. True wisdom can only be found in God’s word and if we are speaking from it with grace, we can thank God even if the person doesn’t receive it but keep praying for him or her. ❤️

  7. The truth of the whole matter is saying the truth no matter what. I will rather tell you the truth and be seen as a killjoy later to find out am the real friend than stay and watch you destroy yourself. being friends with people involves telling them the real and whole truth and allowing them make their decisions. bless you, MA.

  8. People ask questions they already know the answer to. It’s advisable to always tell that friend the truth now than partake in the person’s punishment on the last day. It’s not easy to, that’s why one needs God’s guidance to be able to give the right advice.

  9. Most people pay allegiance to Friends rather that God. This makes them flatter to hide their true feelings. If we must be honest and do what we are supposed to do, we must learn to pay allegiance and allow our true feelings to be represented. One must either Serve God or Man, and of course the latter leads to destruction, the former Eternal Life.

  10. I would always tell everyone the truth whenever they go astray though with a loving spirit so that they could understand and change or act towards it.
    True that the truth is bitter but the truth sets us free
    We should learn to say the truth always.

  11. Personally I believe its better to tell the truth and be seen as a bad person than the other way round.

  12. Truth should be told and we should do this in a polite way without upsetting the person. We should be honest and tell people the truth so we wont be punished in the last day.

  13. I honestly believe in telling the truth… Truth they say is very bitter ,but no matter how bitter it gets, always tell the truth.

  14. We should never compromise the truth no matter where we find ourselves. It is against the will of God. As children of God it is our duty to tell our fellow humans the truth of everything just as God asked us to. At that point the person may feel we are being jealous but he or she would eventually come to know the benefit of the truth.

  15. Nice submission Aunty.
    Humans are ‘rationally stubborn’, we feel whatever our decision, it is right and no other can give us advice better than our decision. However, it behoves us to humbly listen to advice.

  16. We should all learn to drop our ego and accept advice. Its called advice not condemnation, so we should sit to hear. We cant always be right.

  17. Truth they say is like oil; no matter the amount of water you add to it, it must surely float. That is to say that truth can never be hidden. No matter how hard you try to cover it up, it will surely be told one day. That is the reason why we must always say the truth at all times cuz it will liberate us and make us trustworthy.

  18. Telling people the truth is better than to tell them lie when you see the truth instead to tell truth you decide to tell lie but no matter what try to say the truth.

  19. the truth is that most times its hard to say the truth but it is only the truth that will set us free. to me it is better for you to tell me the truth even if it will hurt me than for me to find out that you have being hiding it from me i will fell more hurt.say the truth no matter the circumstances

  20. Yes ma i agree with you, sometimes people gives advice to their friends which is a wrong answer all because of their own interest or as a result of being a victim and wanting their friend to be one as well but its an evil thought and it is not good at all, we should give advice in the way we think its right bless you ma.

  21. There’s this line from a song that says “”the truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off”, nobody wants to hear the truth from you, that is when these leading questions come in. Most times it’s not the truth that the other party wants to hear from you but an assurance to go into something or do something. Which is why we need to pray to God so that when such time comes, He will give us the wisdom to be able to interprete and put it in a way that it will not it incur the wrath or cause whatever bad thing that may occur in the process.

  22. This is a wonderful advice, ma. At times, we tend to support our friend’s opinions or ideas when we don’t want to simply because we don’t want to fall out with them or get into an argument. Our advice should always be guided by God’s word and we must avoid misleading others as we may be incurring the wrath of God upon ourselves. We should also ensure to give the right advice with love and humility.

  23. It is a common saying that “truth is bitter”, but then, in order to keep things right, the truth should be told, but in a loving and caring tone and in a very unique manner not by authority in order to avoid hurting someone. Everything we need to live a good life is contained in the Bible, so when giving advice, we can always qoute scriptures and make references to the life of the Noble Men in the Bible to back up our points.

  24. Truth is bitter but it is better than to lie and sin against God. Your Friends even though they are angry with the truth will respect you for saying the truth and will come to you to know the truth.

  25. This seems to be hard for me.
    Lord,help me to tell my friends the truth no matter the consequences.

  26. This is somehow the problem for me, I find it hard to tell people the truth if I know it will hurt their feelings, I’ve tried severally to change but is really not working…. Thank you ma, with the Bible references you gave and prayers, I will surely get over this. GOD BLESS YOU UNCEASINGLY MA!

    • It is always good to say the truth and not compromise things. As a child of God lets buy the truth and sell it not,it should be our watchword always. Thank you ma l feel blessed.

  27. There is one adage that says that, truth is life. Is so bad that many have lost their rights today because of false system we have. But as a real child of God, make truth your obligation in all you are doing.

  28. Young people this days don’t want to hear what you have to say especially when they have already made conclusion in their heart. No matter how tricky their questions are with the insight of the holy spirit, we can at least be able to tackle them.

  29. We should endeavor to admonish with love and humility not looking at the fact that they may not be disposed into hearing our piece of advice but you can go as far as backing it up with prayer and asking God to guide the person into adhering to the piece of advice being given out.

  30. Truth is bitter but it should be said but what matters is the manner at which it is told. It could hurt the person’s feelings but as a true friend I should be able to tell my friend the truth when he has done wrong.

  31. You know, there are times I have been scared about telling my friends the truth in order not to loose such friendships, but then I realize that I’m doing them no good, so what I do now is to ask the Holy Spirit to guide me on the best way to tell them and He does help me.

  32. “I won’t discriminate against anyone, and I won’t flatter any person.” – Job 32:21 (ISV).This is exactly what some people do. They choose whom to tell the truth and whom not to. They tell you what is not right in the place of what is right. We need to stand our ground and speak the right thing without discriminating and flatters, just because of some reasons.

  33. The best friend to have is Jesus, other friends may fail us, even mother’s can fail their children. But, Jesus is a friend who will always say the truth in giving advice. only, if we consult him.

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