What’s the Best Advice?

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise”—Proverbs 19:20 (NIV).

“You’ll shoot your eye out.” If you’ve ever watched the classic movie “A Christmas Story,” you might be able to relate to Ralphie who was trying to convince his parents to buy him a Red Ryder BB gun as a gift. In the 1940s, the Red Ryder was a popular boy toy.

We can all remember similar advice from our parents like “wash behind your ears,” “do unto others,” “bundle up or you’ll catch a cold,” and the list could go on. Our elders love giving advice. However, it doesn’t stop there. We are bombarded daily with advice on talk shows, like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, to the evening news bytes, giving us health warnings. Those warnings aren’t necessarily bad either.

When was the last time you found yourself offering what you considered helpful advice to someone else but he or she did not take it that way? If you care about others and hate to see them troubled, it is hard to refrain from giving what we feel is “friendly” advice.

If you’re a parent, you’re probably also prone to giving advice, especially when you see your grown children making mistakes. I can still recall advice I received from my parents when they were still alive. I can look back at the poor choices I have made and the advice I did not heed because I thought I knew better, and I have come to the conclusion that those who are older are, for the most part, wiser. That is because they have lived what younger people are experiencing.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

Although we live in a rapidly changing world often defined by the latest technology gadget, people have not changed. Study scripture and you will find story after story of those who did not heed the advice given by prophets in the Old Testament and the New Testament offers a wealth of admonitions and exhortations for those who would follow it. The parables of Jesus and his Sermon on the Mount offer the best advice to those as He says in Mark 4:9 have “ears to hear, let him hear.”

Much of the time, we brush off well-meant advice because, as an old saying goes, “Advice would always be more acceptable if it didn’t conflict with our plans.”

Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Two centenarians, both female, were recently interviewed for a newspaper article. The two women were receiving a free hair-and-makeup session at a local upscale salon. At the end of the interview, the reporter asked one of the women if she had any advice to offer for living to 100. She replied, “Just leave it to God. He paves the way.”

I think she has it right. Don’t you?

Carol Round

Check out the author’s website at www.carolaround.com.

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