The Wrong Source of Help and Advice

Looking in the Wrong “Cupboard”

Sometimes when we are looking for help, we look in the wrong places to find it. Then, when we get to the right place, we look in the wrong “cupboard” to find it. Think about how often this applies when we are seeking help to improve our marriages. The tendency is to go talk to a friend without considering if that friend would be a good source of help.

Seek help in the right places.

Seek help in the right places.

Many years ago, I was counseling a young couple in Birmingham on a weekly basis. They had real problems, and both evidently wanted to try to save the marriage. Then, a pattern developed. At the end of each session, both husband and wife seemed to agree on things each should do to solve the problems. However, when we met next, the wife was on a totally different page. The husband said that shortly after we met each week the wife changed. I finally asked him what were the influences in her life that brought this about. He mentioned that she had three close friends at work.

She thought those friends’ advice should help. However, it turned out that all three of those close friends were divorced. The wife thought surely their counsel should become part of her life. How wise is it to ask those who are failures in their marriages for advice about marriage? If I wanted to learn to fly a plane, I would not try to learn how to fly by asking someone who had crashed three planes! The wisdom gained by crashing a plane or “crashing” a marriage may not be wisdom at all.

Solomon said, “In a multitude of counselors there is safety” (Prov. 24:6). Think about this and recognize that because we go to the right place (multitude of counselors) to find help we may look in the wrong “cupboard” when we get there. You cannot just ask anyone for help. Hear the words of David, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” (Psa. 1:1). The help found in the “cupboard” of ungodly counsel does not help. The verse implies that to seek counsel from the ungodly may not bring blessing but a curse! Think about that counsel given the wife by her three ungodly friends!

One other point about this is that all counsel be tested against what the Bible says. The words of James give great insight. “The wisdom from above first is pure, then peaceful, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (Jas. 3:17). Make sure that when you look in any “cupboard” you use James’ words to measure what is there.

Hear the wisdom of Solomon again. “There is no wisdom or counsel against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30). Need help in making any decision? There is wisdom in many counselors, but those counselors must be godly!

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