A great verse for today:
“…they will learn to be lazy and will spend their time gossiping from house to house, meddling in other people’s business and talking about things they shouldn’t.”
—1 Timothy 5:13b (NLT)
If you stand up in the bathroom at church, you’ve probably been to a men’s prayer meeting. Men share prayer requests and look for other men to call down God’s help for their situation.
Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. In actuality, when men share prayer requests in an hour-long prayer meeting, they give each other advice for whatever the problems might be and spend a grand total of 57½ seconds praying about those requests—no matter how many requests were made in total.
The ladies, on the other hand, suffer from the same problem, except in a far worse form. Men tend to keep their mouths shut unless asked for advice. Women, though, sometimes go barging into other people’s lives with their “godly wisdom,” whether it is asked for or not. To their credit, women do a better job with prayer requests, bumping up the men’s 57½ seconds of total prayer time for requests to at least a minute and a half. 😉
Life is hard enough as it is, but to have judges, busybodies, and advice-givers deluging us with their man-made wisdom isn’t helping anyone. If anything, all it accomplishes is either to upset recipients or lead them down dead-end paths that eventually have those recipients questioning God’s direction (when they should have been questioning the advice-giver’s qualifications to speak).
I believe God offers us the best way:
1. If we are prone to be an advice giver, whether prompted or not, we should stop. No one needs our man-made advice. Undoubtedly, wisdom that comes from the minds of humans will fail. God says it will, so that pretty much settles it. In short, we’re not as smart as we think we are.
2. Chances are, we don’t know enough of what is happening behind closed doors to say anything about another person’s situation. Only God knows what a person truly needs. Instead, just listen and withhold judgment and advice (then consider #5 below).
3. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” applies to judgments and advice. Would we want to hear what we are about to share? Probably not. Then best keep quiet, especially if our advice is unsolicited.
4. In contrast to failed human wisdom, God provides perfect solutions through the spiritual gifts of word of knowledge and word of wisdom. My experience is that they are rare, but they are the only type of “advice” that is truly godly. If we are not given such a word, then we should keep still. If we are, we should not be afraid to share it gently and with tact. And also remember: Chances are, you and I were not the ones chosen to deliver that message. If we were, then we need to be humble about it.
5. Most people don’t want our judgments and advice. What they do want is us and our time. It is one thing to tell someone they need to do such and such. It is far different to actually help them do it. (Personally, I have no respect for people who tell others what they should be doing yet will not lift a hand to help them do it.) If we are not willing to help see our advice through, then we should not be giving it. All the advice in the world is nothing when compared to being there in person for someone else. Talk is cheap; walk is priceless.
In the end, talk less, listen more, and walk beside people who need help. That is the way of the Christian.
4 thoughts on “When a Church Is Filled with Judges, Busybodies, and Advice-Givers”
Excellent post, Dan. I don’t even ask for prayer anymore from most Christians because it’s all advice and 99% of it isn’t from God.
“If we are not willing to help see our advice through, then we should not be giving it.”
This concept can be applied in another way. Several years ago I read a biography about Rees Howells where he used this idea to measure the sincerity of his prayers. If he was not willing to care for the children who had recently lost their mother, he had no business praying for someone else to take care of those children.
In other words, if you’re not willing to help see your prayers answered, don’t ask.
I am done being stalked,being judged,having untruths told about me,having well meaning church women,who talk behind my back,show up at my door to further pressure me. I have officially left the Protestant church due to this repeated trauma over 65 ys of life . This,not God ……..I am done being the scapegoat of others,who blame ,take no responsibility, and continue to stick their noses unto my life. I take responsibility for my own mess, as should they. And you wonder why the church not effective ? Look in the mirror. We are all sinners, and need to get out of each other’s way, stop playing God with people’s lives, and pray for folks,wanting the best for them. My vent …thank you. I live the Lord , I thank Him for all He sends my way.. despite the criticism and harshness if those who say they serve Him. I am far better off, closer to the Lord, without the incessant interference and accusations of those good church ladies.
_”It is one thing to tell someone they need to do such and such. It is far different to actually help them do it. ( Personally, I have no respect for people who tell others what they should be doing yet will not lift a hand to help them do it. )”_ You see there ? therein lies your problem with that statement of yours. You made this big speech about about people needing to mind their own business here but here you are contradicting yourself. And personally, I have little respect and contempt for hypocrites and busybodies myself. Yes, it’s an honorable and Godly thing to help someone in need whatever difficult or troublesome situation that they’re having at some point in their life but that help can sometimes simply be sound advice from words of wisdom that they can apply to whatever it is that they’re dealing with and they can just move on from there. You implying that you always have to be there with someone to hold their hand in whatever personal issues in their life that they’re facing as if they can’t pull their own weight and move forward on their own as any able bodied full functioning individual reveals to me that you’re kind of arrogant and condescending, that’s what I took from this post of yours. You wanting to intertwine yourself in someone else’s personal matter in their life under the guise of you wanting to “help” them reveals to me that you’re just like or even worse than the kind of people that you’re supposedly speaking about here, basically you’re just admitting that you’re a meddling busybody yourself. If someone needs help and they ask for it, sure, it’s only right to offer them a helping hand depending on whatever it is that they’re dealing with, but again, sometimes that help can simply be words of wisdom of sound advice that you can share with them that they can use which can help them out tremendously and they can move forward from there and get on with their life with God’s help, so then you just shut up, step aside, move out of their way and just leave them well alone and God can do the rest. I just wanted to point that out there. While a good portion of what you’ve stated in this post of yours regarding the issue at hand as being right, at the same time I simply couldn’t just sit back and let the absurdity nonsense here in this post of yours go unchallenged. That’s just me.