Ask Ann Landers?
Questions on proper in-law etiquette, noisy neighbors and philandering spouses peppered news papers all across the country. The twin sisters could turn out a response in a couple of paragraphs and their opinions carried weight around the world.
It would be statistically interesting to see how many marriages were saved, the number of divorces finalized and apologies accepted based solely on the advice of the sisters. If you could wait a few weeks and risk the overwhelming odds of your letter being chosen, I guess it was a logical way to learn what you should do. Better yet, if you could just find your problem mimicked in someone else’s life, then you could piggy-back off of their solicited solution. If Abby and Ann weren’t accessible enough, family members and friends have usually been willing to offer up advice. Unfortunately, “Going to the phone, before going to the Throne,” (thank you Joyce Meyer for that quote) can get you in trouble. While we can usually count on family and friends for their opinions, they are often pre-programmed to tell us what we want to hear…or they offer advice slightly slanted by their own particular experiences. I am sometimes guilty of purposely selecting whose advice I seek, knowing in advance they are likely to give me the answer I want.
There are all sorts of examples on seeking advice in the Bible…some turn out well and others not so much. Proverbs 24:6 says, “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisors.” I like that one. It’s always seemed like a good idea to me, to ask around before getting yourself into a tight situation, especially to find out if you have anyone on your side. And if you already have some ideas and plans formulated in your mind, you might want to pull up Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord everything you do, then your plans will succeed.” Of course you have to get that “commit” part first. It doesn’t work after the fact. Then, there is the foundational fool-proof piece of advice Jesus gives us in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” I have tested and tried that verse many times and am living proof that it is true and effective.
But just yesterday a friend asked my advice on a risky decision she was about to make. It’s easy to say “Go for it” or “Just do it” when you’re NOT the one standing on the edge of a cliff, grabbing hold of an old rope and preparing to launch yourself out over a pile of jagged rocks to the icy river below. When I saw her apprehension, I should have told her to stop and pray about it. But I egged her on. I wanted her to do it because I had done it, and well, the kids thirty and forty years younger than us had done it. Her success would carry a set of bragging rights for the two of us while the other adults sat safely in their kayaks watching from the shallow water.
So she jumped. It didn’t go well. I immediately found myself praying she would be okay as I looked down into the water and we exchanged horrified facial expressions. A few bumps, a couple of bruises, some scratches, scrapes, cuts, a little wounded pride with lots of “I should have known betters” and we floated on down the river.
I suspect she might think twice about trusting my advice again on such life and death situations. But if there is a next time, I hope I won’t miss the opportunity to encourage her to overlook my opinion, and take her question straight to the Top!
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;
He will never let the righteous be shaken.”
Of course, even if she had asked Dear Abby or Ann Landers, I suspect the sisters would have sided with me and said:
“You only live once. Jump!”
Who do you count on to give you advice?
Who counts on you for answers?
These may be questions worth contemplating. 🙂
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