"Blessed be your…advice...for you who have kept me today from bloodguiltiness."
I Samuel 25: 33, Amplified Bible
"The Advantage of Good Advice"
"Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Have I been open to taking wise advice when it has been given to me?
Do I follow the advice my heavenly Father has given to me in His Word?
"No gift is more precious than good advice."
"To profit from good advice requires more wisdom than to give it."
John Churton Collins
I have told you before that I'm a big fan of English Literature. And I especially enjoy the writing penned by author Jane Austen. In her book Emma, written in 1816, the heroine of the story, Emma, is described in a scene as follows:
"Something occurred while they were at Hartfield, to make Emma want their advice; and, which was still more lucky, she wanted exactly the advice they gave."
My response to this is, "How fortunate!" Quite often, when we are given advice, it is not necessarily what we want to hear. When this happens, we can ignore the advice completely or, after reflection, we can choose to take the advice.
In relationships, I belive you'll probably agree, giving and taking advice can be a complicated matter.
When Jim and I were first married, one of the things we had to learn very quickly was that since we both had strong and distinct personalities, with deeply rooted opinions, giving advice to each other became a basis for learning to compromise. And sometimes, unwarranted advice can lead to conflict.
This is the situation which could easily have developed between Abigail and David. Abigail gave David quite a bit of advice and this to a man who had a sword strapped on his side.
She advised him to re-think his desire for revenge. She advised him to let his temper cool off. She advised him to think about what a fool Nabal was. Yes, she was full of advice. And one last thing, she didn't even know David. There's no place in this story where we are told Abigail and David had ever met before. So their encounter wasn't the same as if they were close friends who were looking out for each other nor was it as though David had solicited Abigail's advice in the first place.
This is why the outcome of their interaction is so surprising. Rather than David saying, "Abigail, get off my back. I didn't ask for your advice so keep your opinions to yourself," David responded with gratitude. And this leads me to come to two conclusions about this event.
First, in relationships, the way we give advice is critical. If we read the entire passage in I Samuel 25, we find that Abigail's demeanor was one of courteous, kindness. She didn't degrade David. She wasn't harshly critical. In fact, before she gave David any advice at all, she complimented him and built him up. This is so important for it is too easy to give advice in a critical manner - putting another person down rather than building them up.
Second, David took in all that Abigail said, matching up his personal experience with Nabal with the great generosity Abigail had shown him. The fact that David took a breath before responding, shows that he was allowing the wisdom of Abigail's words to sink in. And he didn't look at Abigail and jump-to-the-conclusion that a woman he didn't know was trying to boss him around.
What we find is that two individuals, who were both working to defuse an explosive situation, spoke with kindness and reacted with respect.
As I thought of two individuals who did not know each other showing such restraint and compatibility in a very prickly situation, I thought how often in my own life, taking a lesson from Abigail in giving advice while learning from David regarding the gracious acceptance of wise advice, will assist me in continuing to build strong relationships. I hope the same happens in your life, as well!
"Lord, tell me what You want me to do, where You want me to go, how You want me to do it."
"Holy Spirit, think through me till Your ideas are my ideas."
"O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light rises up in darkness for the Godly; give us, in all our doubts and uncertainties the grace to ask what Thou wouldst have us to do; that the spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in Thy light we may see light and in Thy straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.