Have People Stopped Wasting Their Breath on Us?

Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice.

(Proverbs 23:9)

Have you ever offered advice to someone and sensed their heart locking you out? For whatever reason, whether your advice was ill-timed or they didn’t want advice from you or anyone, you decided never to offer advice to that person again.

When people offer us advice, do we listen? How long has it been since someone offered advice? Perhaps they’re not coming, not because we don’t need any, but because we don’t make it safe for them.

We can…
…find fault with the way they come to us.
…use our authority to shut them down.
…make excuses for the way we are.
…blame others for our problems.
…point fingers back at them.
Unless people are hard-hearted, it usually takes extra grace and courage to offer someone advise. Often, they will feel awkward. Sometimes they will speak in veiled whispers. Perhaps they’re testing us to see if we’re safe enough for them to move closer. Perhaps they really care. It doesn’t take much to shut them down and vow never to try correcting us again. At some point, people will completely distance themselves from us.
In what ways are we making it hard for people to tell us about ourselves? What fountains of correction have we shut off that need to be gently reopened?
Wise people are hungry for advice. They receive it as a gift, even if it’s sometimes flawed. Here are four good reasons why we should be lovers of advice:
We don’t have enough wisdom or knowledge inside our own heads to make the best decisions.
Others see our blind spots and can help us prevent disasters.
Opening ourselves to others builds trust, safety, and deeper connections.
God says wise people love advice.
Lord, search our hearts. If we have scared people away who were offering advice, please give them courage to come back and try again.

Phillip Cohen