Giving good advice

September 8, 2014 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

by Jackie Pau, 3 September 2014

Recently a number of friends have come to me for advice on heavy duty stuff and it has been daunting. Mainly because I am afraid I will say the wrong things, that I put my own spin on things, rather than give good counsel.

What Saint Paul said to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 2:10-16) is both sobering and uplifting at the same time:

The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
Among men, who knows what pertains to the man 
except his spirit that is within?
Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God 
except the Spirit of God.
We have not received the spirit of the world 
but the Spirit who is from God,
so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.
And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom,
but with words taught by the Spirit,
describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.

I may only know what is within my own spirit, and sometimes not even that, as we all have our own blind spots, but if I rely on the Holy Spirit and am guided by Him, then I am safe. Whatever I say will be “words taught by the Spirit'”

So how does this translate into “describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms”? Especially since I am an ordinary woman who is so imperfect and a habitual sinner?

On an intellectual level, it is the constant study and reflection on Scripture, teachings and all things edifying, filling my mind with good things.

Willing toward goodness is equally important, which can only be effected with any level of integrity through the regular practice of prayer and an openness to the graces of the Sacraments.

There is finally heart, allowing the Spirit to speak through the inner movements of my heart, what I feel and what I desire, what brings me inner peace and joy, and what moves me to act out of compassion.

It all comes down to love. Loving as the Good Samaritan did when he helped the injured and robbed man, as the Good Shepherd who went after the 100th lost sheep, as the widow with two mites who gave her all, as the father of the prodigal who forgave so readily and completely, and all the other examples of sacrificial, self-giving love, chief among which is the Passion of Christ.

So even though I may not always speak with such incisiveness as Jesus did, if I truly desire the good of the other, if I truly love my brother and my sister, I will consciously set my ego aside and humbly offer what comes out of my mouth as advice.

I should not be afraid to be prophetic, to speak unpleasant truths that may not always be received in the spirit they are given (don’t expect others to follow your advice no matter how sound, and don’t expect gratitude). I should also not be afraid to be wrong and ask for pardon when I have made a mistake.

Perhaps the most important thing in proffering advice is to pray for the Holy Spirit to be present in the exchange (I do this a LOT) and to pray for the other to be guided by God, especially if they are in chaos.

Just as I seek to do God’s will, my desire is for my friends to do His will. Then we will all be living out spiritual realities that centre us and bring joy and depth to our lives.

Retreived from


Entry filed under: Inspiring Faith.


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