Think of how often you give advice. It’s what pastors do. We are professional advice-givers. Our preaching is filled with advice. Our pastoral counseling is filled with advice. The meetings we lead are filled with our advice.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Jesus gave advice. The writers of the NT gave advice. Advice-giving is not wrong it’s just, for many pastors, a default, something we revert to automatically.
When advice-giving is our default there is a good chance that we will not be listening deeply to the person who has come to us but instead only half-listening while formulating our response (advice) to be given as soon as the person will let us get a word in.
When advice-giving is our default we fail to help those who come to us learn to think for themselves.
When advice-giving is our default we reinforce in others a dependency on us rather than God. It’s easier for them to come to us and get advice rather than prayerfully seek God for his advice.
When we give advice we’re playing God.
- What if our default was not advice?
- What if our default was to ask great questions that helped our people think for themselves?
- What if the advice we gave to those who come to us for advice was, “Spend the next week in prayer and we’ll meet to discus what you discovered.”
- What if the advice we gave to those who come to us for advice was, “Spend the next week studying the scriptures to see if the Bible has any advice of it’s own for you? Then let’s get together and you can share with me what you found.”
- What if we gave advice as a last resort rather than a first resort?
What if we stopped playing God all the time?