I’m convinced that one of most precious gifts a person can have in life is to have wise people to consult, especially when perplexing trials and difficult situations arise. While almost everyone has an opinion about everything, very few actually have wisdom and understanding about the deep matters in life and of the heart.
Years ago, I remember being in one of the most challenging times in my life. I had major decisions to make, and I didn’t know what to do. One of the decisions facing me was whether I’d stay in graduate school or move away. I knew that Proverbs 11:14 instructs, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors, there is safety.” As a result, I began to really pray, hoping I would hear God’s voice instruct me on what to do. Yet, I heard nothing. I was miserable, but I kept praying. I went to three different people that I respected and that I knew would be truthful with me. It was miraculous. All three had the same advice!
I remember sitting in my car and crying, asking God why he couldn’t answer me. At first, it didn’t occur to me that he had answered my prayers—three different times. Only when I stopped panicking, and reflected on the events of the day did I realize what God wanted me to do. He had led me to three wise individuals, who really helped me to gain proper perspective of my situation and to make the decision to finish graduate school. God did answer my prayers, but it was a difficult thing to receive at the time. I wanted to run, but wise counsel instructed me to stay and finish what I had started. That one decision has impacted my life in countless ways.
Too often, people rush to make judgments, give opinions, and advice without really considering the weight of their words. There really is life and death in the power of the tongue. When people think enough of us to come to us for advice, we have to remember to be quick to listen and slow to speak, carefully considering our response.
Proverbs 25:11 tells us that, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Whether it’s an important life changing decision or a seemingly meaningless one, we should always strive to use God’s wisdom when we speak, remembering that our words do matter and can change lives.
I am so thankful to God for giving me the discernment (most of the time) to recognize the wisdom in others. Truly, it has made my life richer and helped me to avoid many pitfalls. As a result of the influence that wise individuals have had on me, I strive for God’s wisdom when listening and speaking to others. It can be tough because sometimes my opinions are so strong, and I may feel like I know what the right thing in the situation is. However, when the spirit leads me, there is a peace and calming ability to listen carefully and thoughtfully consider how I respond.
When we respond in wisdom, “like apples of gold in pictures of silver,” we create beauty, harmony, and peace in any situation. Join me in appreciating those who have imparted wisdom, guidance, and truth in our lives, and pay it forward by doing the same in others’ lives.