A Well-Instructed Tongue

Do you give advice to others? Sure you do. We all do. Whether it is to, our children, our family, or our friends, we make comments on what others should do. Sometimes, the advice was asked for and sometimes not.

Often our advice is so subtle we may not even realize that we have said it. We think we are just having a conversation but the other person hears us telling them how to handle their situation. Our words hold a power, so we have to be careful what comes out of our mouths.

One of the best ways that we can do that is to never say anything to someone else that Jesus wouldn’t say to them. If your friend is complaining about her husband would Jesus tell her that she should leave him? If your child has a conflict with a friend would Jesus tell her to tell them off? Are you tempted to tell your co-worker that it will be ok if they fudge on the report this time because they have to meet the deadline? Is that really what Jesus would say in that situation?

When we truly care about others, we want to ease their pain, so it’s tempting to comfort them by saying what they want to hear. The right thing to do may be the hard thing, but we find ourselves, skirting the issue or finding a less confrontational piece of advice to hand out.

Not every situation is black and white. We may truly not know what to tell someone when they come to us for advice. We don’t want to say the wrong thing to make the situation worse, and we don’t want to ignore this person who needs our counsel. So, how do we learn to give wise advice? Isaiah 50:4 tells us, “The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.”

A well-instructed tongue comes from the Lord. This verse says that the Lord wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. So the key to a well-instructed tongue is a well-instructed ear. We should listen to Lord before we speak. We have all shot up those, “Help me, Lord” prayers at the moment that we need wisdom, but this verse is telling us that more is required.

It says that we are to listen to the Lord, morning by morning. The more time that we spend with the Lord, the more that we are going to understand his instructions. The more that we understand his instructions; the more we are going to act and speak like him. The more that we speak like him, the more words we will have that sustains the weary.

Our words are often faulty, self-serving or inadequate. Only words that come from the wisdom of God will make a difference. To be wise advisors, we must first be good listeners. We can get up the morning by morning as this scripture says and call ourselves spending time with the Lord but are we listening as well as telling God our needs? He wants to equip us with what we need to be his voice to a hurting world. He wants to give us a well-instructed tongue, but first, he wants to give us well-instructed ears.

Sue Potts

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