First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Right Time to Give Advice

If you are a friend it is natural to want to give advice now and again. And I think that a little friendly advice is a good thing. However, not all of our advice is well received. Have you ever had your good-natured advice thrown back in your face? I certainly have. So are there any guidelines for us to follow concerning advice giving? I believe a little common sense mixed together with experience can help us with this question.

I hate asking for directions when I am lost. Is that so like a man, or what? I figure that I should be able to navigate my way around the world without anyone else’s help. So what is wrong with that? What is wrong is when I fail miserably in this endeavor. When I am helplessly lost, my wonderfully helpful wife comes to the rescue. She says, “Bill why don’t you pull into this gas station and ask for help?” Wise advice considering we have been driving around in circles for an hour or more. Now, how do I respond to this advice? With a pleasant “thank you honey”? And then wisely turn into the gas station? Of course not. I say, “I know what I am doing. I don’t need your help.” And I keep driving in circles. I am sure that some learned person has a rational theory for why I respond in this way, but I don’t care. All I know is that I don’t want Betsy’s or anyone else’s advice when I am driving. So stop aggravating me.

People don’t always appreciate advice. Sometimes we don’t want to be helped; we want to do it ourselves. Sometimes we don’t want to be told what to do. Sometimes we are so mad at whatever is going wrong, we just don't want to hear anything from anyone. So I realized that there must be a trick to offering advice to people. So I thought about the times when I am grateful for the advice I am given. And the answer was simple. I accept it when I ask for it. I usually get mad when I am offered unsolicited advice. But when I need help and ask for it, no problem. So it makes sense to me to wait for my opportunities to give advice. I try to withhold my opinion until someone asks for it. I don’t see the point of giving something if there is no one to receive it. When people need help they will ask for it. I just wait for the question to come.

Around and around I drive until my wife makes me stop and car and she asks for help. She would be better off if she waited until I became so frustrated that I give up my stubbornness and grudgingly ask for help. Maybe some day she will learn the right time to give advice, and maybe I will learn to take it.

Pastor Bill

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