Giving Advice

Doug Hornok   -  
Michelle Singletary writes a financial advice column for the Washington Post.
Several years back, a man wrote Ms. Singletary asking for advice. He was planning to marry his fiancée of 18 months as soon as they dealt with her spending habits which were clearly out of control. Her closet contained 400 pairs of shoes, many still new, and was overflowing with clothing. She justified her spendthrift ways by saying she works two jobs and looks for bargains.
The man asked Michelle Singletary, “What can I do to help her curb her spending habits without making her feel bad or as though I am putting her down?”
Ms. Singletary urged him to postpone this marriage. They were not close to being ready for marriage until this problem was solved. She suggested pulling credit reports, seeing what that revealed, and then finding a credit counselor.
Ten years later, Michelle Singletary received an email from the man telling her what had happened. The news was not good.
He did none of the things Ms. Singletary had suggested.
After marrying the woman, he learned his bride owed $30,000 to the IRS and $15,000 in back taxes to the city. He took out a second mortgage on his house to cover her debts and now stands a good chance of losing his home. He said, “I am on the brink of financial ruin and a failed marriage.”
I’ve learned through the years that people ask for my input and advice. When that happens, I’m honored! Then when you knock yourself out trying to help them, they ignore everything you said and plunge headlong into disaster.
Did they listen? You know the answer to that. It is without question one of the most frustrating aspects of ministry!
Now before you are too hard on these seeming hard-headed and hearted ingrates, listen to God’s lament regarding His people Israel as recorded in Isaiah 1:
“I have raised children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s feeding trough, but Israel does not know; my people do not understand.”
So what’s the takeaway? The next time you feel frustrated, irritated, and ready to write off helping people, remember that God experiences the same frustration daily.
Photo by William Krause on Unsplash