In my devotions this morning, I was reading the story of Rehoboam in 2 Chronicles 10 and it amazed me that Rehoboam was foolish enough to disregard the good advice the elders were giving him and instead following the advice of his counterparts. Rehoboam was Solomon's son who succeeded him as king immediately following his death. The Israelites had been subjected to heavy labour under Solomon's rule and they, along with Jeroboam, went to Rehoboam to request that their burden be lightened. Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had advised his father when he was alive, and they told him to listen to the people since in doing so they would be loyal to him. However, that advice didn't cut it for Rehoboam so he consulted with his peers and they told him to increase the Israelite's labour. He followed their advice and,as a result, the only Israelites who remained with him were those from the tribe of Judah. If he had listened to the advice of the elders the kingdom would not have been divided under his rule. When I began to reflect on the story, I realised that I often do the same thing. I will listen to the advice of someone who is saying what I want to hear and reject the advice of someone else who has my best interest at heart. Advice is something that we freely give to others, but when it's time for us to take some for ourselves we have a major problem accepting it. Older and more experienced people usually give the best advice but sometimes our own friends can be pointing us in the right direction but we are too blind to see it. So, how do we know when the advice we are being given is the best advice? Here are some of my suggestions:
1. Does It Contradict What You're Thinking? This may not be true in all cases but sometimes we know deep down in our hearts that something is wrong with the way we are thinking. If someone is giving you advice that really causes you to do some soul searching, that advice may just be what is best for you. For instance, someone may be advising you to invest in a particular project because of its potential for profit. However, although you know that the person is right, you neglect the advice because you are afraid of the risk and you therefore miss an opportunity.
2. Is the person speaking from an informed position? I am not necessarily saying that the person has to be experienced. To be honest, experienced people can give the best advice but they can also give the worst. What I am trying to point at is the need for us to discern if the person has truly thought about the situation and is giving us advice based on that information that he or she has processed. Sometimes, people tend to overlook the real underlying issues that are causing the problems and therefore give advice that isn't helpful. When someone takes the time to understand the situation and then provide you with advice then this shows that he or she is interested in providing you with the best advice he or she can possibly give.
3. Does the person have your best interest at heart? Sometimes, people can be very vindictive and can only be looking for ways to tear us down. These people could even be our own friends or family members. It is therefore critical for us to be able to discern what the person's intentions are for giving the advice. Will they benefit and you suffer if you follow the advice? Or if they are not involved in the problem, will they give you advice that will make you suffer?
The advice we take can make or break us. If Rehoboam had followed the advice of the elders then he would not have had more than half of the Israelites rejecting him as king. Be careful of the advice you take and closely follow these steps to know if the advice you're being given is right for you.