Do you remember what the person who married you said?
Maybe you do – maybe you don’t. Maybe they didn’t say anything worth remembering or maybe all that was said was, “I now pronounce you man and wife.”
I must admit, there isn’t much I remember about what was said during my wedding, but I do remember what was said at my daughter’s wedding. “…And now to you parents I want to say, remember this: Advice is like salt. It should be passed when asked for.”
Those were certainly “words to the wise” and though I hate to admit it, on more than one occasion, I’ve remembered them too late. I have a tendency to think, “You have a problem? I have a solution!” I jump in uninvited, open my big mouth, and then wish I had a magic eraser for the words I’ve spoken. Like the proverbial toothpaste in a tube—once squeezed out—there’s no putting it back.
On the other hand, as wise King Solomon has said, “There’s a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Ecclesiastes 3:7 When the time is right, sharing your wisdom, insight and experience can be just what’s needed to help rectify a troubled relationshipor challenging situation.
So, when the time is right—what should you do?
Let the other person talk without interrupting or jumping to conclusions.
2. Ask – Don’t Tell:
Ask thoughtful questions to discern what’s going on and get them thinking about solutions rather than telling them what to do.
“The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” Proverbs 20:5
3. Think K.I.S.S.
Keep It Short & Sweet.
Successful advice-giving is done by sharing one small piece of truth at a time.
4. See If It Sticks:
Think of advice-giving as cooking spaghetti. Pastaneeds to be simmered until it’s al dente – firm but tender. The way you check spaghetti to see if it’s al dente is to pull a strand from the pot, throw it against the wall, and see if it sticks. Advice should be like that. Firm, yet tender—andsticking.
If the person you’re advising is not quickly applying the truth you share and making changes—stop! “Do not give dogs what is sacred’ do not throw your pearls to pigs.” Matthew 7:1 If they need more than you can give, or know how to give, refer them to a biblical counselor. Don’t get sucked into their vortex of disfunction.
5. Let Go and Let God:
Remember: No matter how much you care, it’s not your job to fix other people’s problems—adult children. Do what you can by sharing sound advice and release the results into the hands of your loving Savior.
Give these five steps a try—you’ll be surprised
who cares what you think.