Advice for the Advice Giver

I invite you to read Kristen’s post. It’s a great reminder to us all.

Woman walking cross country and trail in autumn forestBy Kristen Schiffman

Those who control their tongue will have a long life;
opening your mouth can ruin everything.
Proverbs 13:3, NLT

Recently I was telling a friend about a dream of mine that I’ve been praying about and working toward.

After hearing all about it, my friend’s response surprised me. She was unsupportive and discouraging. It seemed she thought the way to help me was to be “realistic” with me. She pointed out a lot of the obstacles I’d likely face and asked why I would even bother. The thing is, the dream I shared with her is a very biblical desire. It is not some pie-in-the-sky dream in need of a good dose of reality.

After talking to her the very thing I had felt so pumped to pursue ended up leaving me unsure.

A few days later, I was watching Francis Chan teach on the power of the tongue and he said something that struck me as so profound.

“When we give advice, we better make sure we know it is biblical.”

He pointed out our tendency to give advice that makes things easier, makes the person we’re counseling (or ourselves!) feel better or even, at times, makes us (the advice givers) look good. He suggested we check ourselves as we speak up on things. Are we speaking from a Scripture-based perspective?

For example, stopping a 20-something from moving to the mission field because it is potentially dangerous could very well strip that person of their calling. God may very well be calling us to dangerous places.


After having my own biblically based dream squelched, I’m learning to watch the advice I give to my friends and loved ones. How often do I speak before I seek? Proverbs 13:3 convicts when it says, “Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.” I’m learning to check my motives before I open my mouth. Is this just to pacify this person? Would I follow this advice? Am I tossing water on a fire God may have set in her heart? Should I be quiet and simply listen to her right now? Should I pray about this before I offer my thoughts on it? Anyone have a latte?

I’m happy to report that Jesus hasn’t talked me out of my dream. As a matter of fact, the more my husband and I talk to Him about it, the more it seems to grow.

I think one of the best things we could do for those we love is to get to know Jesus more through the Word. This way, when we are asked for advice or have a friend confide in us, we won’t just be speaking out of our initial reactions or saying what sounds good, we will be saying exactly what Jesus would have us say.

Have you ever offered advice you later regretted? What are some ways we can submit in this area before the Lord?



KSchiffmanBioPhotoKristen Schiffman is a Bible study writer and teacher who loves chai lattes and blank pages. She’s served on staff at multiple women’s ministries and is the co-founder of The Dinner Table Collective (set to launch in early 2015). You can find her online at and The Dinner Table Collective.

11 Responses to Advice for the Advice Giver

  1. Powerful Kristen. A few weeks ago I shared, via email, my thoughts on what you wrote and we had a wonderful exchange over it. I know your post will bless many! Love you. Praying for you.

  2. I too have been on the receiving end of this. And I have to admit that there have been times when I was tempted to say ‘are you crazy?’ to a friend who shared something they thought they should do. But I’ve learned to listen more and say less. If someone specifically asks for my advice, I point to the Bible and prayer. Sometimes the Lord places a dream in a person’s heart and I don’t want to do anything to interfere with that dream. I’ve buried too many of my own when ‘others’ have pointed out the flaws.

    Very powerful post Kristen. It’s amazing how much damage our tongues can do.

    Blessings and love,

  3. A collection of wisdom, if ever there was one! I’ve heard it said, and believe it’s true: “Beware sharing your dreams with anyone who won’t gladly see, or help them come to pass.” I know I’m guilty of speaking out of turn, so I hope & pray the words from my mouth & the meditations of my heart are acceptable to Him before I attempt to make them acceptable to others.

    Thank you for so needful a reminder!


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