5 Kinds of People You Should Avoid Taking Advice FromApril 29, 2017
Solomon said, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). In his wisdom and experience, the king understood the importance of receiving good instruction. Much of what Solomon penned down in the Proverbs was an admonition to look for clear insight, righteous counsel, and godly advice. However, the kind of people you seek advice from is just as important as the actual pursuit of wisdom itself. Just because someone is willing to offer you their advice doesn’t mean it is a wise thing to take it. That is why the king said, “in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” The advice someone gives you should be filtered and processed.
In these days of talking pundits, politically-slanted news, and social media there is a plethora of advice out there. Whether you are looking for a plumber, searching for a church, or seeking instruction on parenting, the stream flows with all kinds of counsel from all kinds of resources. With the inundation of information, we should be careful concerning who we allow to speak into our lives. Solomon said it in a better way, “The simple believeth every word; but the prudent man looketh well to his going” (Proverbs 14:15). In order to “look well to your goings” avoid taking advice from these kind of people:
People who are Inconsistent
An inconsistent person will give inconsistent advice. What they told you two years ago may be different from what they would tell you today. Their counsel is usually based upon their experiences and their feelings, not the Word of God. Since their lives are consistently inconsistent, their advice is volatile and fluctuating. Solomon instructed, “My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change” (Proverbs 24:21). This verse speaks of inconsistency, not growth. Every believer should be “changing” in the sense that we increase our faith and improve our walk; but those who continually recalibrate their lives, jobs, churches, homes, friends, philosophies, and beliefs every few years should not be considered experts in their fields, because more than likely their “field” will be short-lived.
People who are Instigators
There are some people who live for contention. They thrive on it. They love their “vain babblings” and “foolish questions” (1 Timothy 5:20, Titus 3:9). They are like the man in Proverbs 26, “As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife” (Proverbs 26:21). And so, they fight, they squabble, they stir the pot, they “engender strifes” (2 Timothy 2:23). Such actions can be perceived as confidence, but typically their desire to fight stems from their own insecurity and need to be validated. You should avoid their advice because, by in large, instigators have a preoccupation with being right rather than what is right. It is wise to avoid them altogether, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
People who are Inexperienced
Let’s be practical here. A person with limited experience in a particular field should not be considered a serious counselor. If I offered you advice on brain surgery, organic farming, or electrical engineering, you should not take it – I have no experience in those areas. Just because someone thinks they have all the answers to your questions doesn’t mean they will provide you with the ones you actually need. This is especially true in spiritual matters. In giving the qualifications for pastoral ministry, the apostle Paul said the candidate should not be a “novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6). Avoid counsel from the inexperienced novice, their instruction will be folly, for them and for you.
People who are Immoral
David said, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly” (Psalms 1:1). The first order of business in experiencing the “blessed life” is to avoid advice from the wicked men of this generation. We hear their voices everywhere. They impose their world-views, they push their politics, they force their thoughts upon us; and they do so with an evil and corrupt intent. The world has taken seriously the Great Commission endeavoring to reach the church with their vile and ungodly ways. If the follower of Christ does not cautiously guard his heart, he will be inundated and persuaded with advice from the perishing. Warning, do not take advice from those who defile God, lambaste the church of Jesus Christ, grieve the Holy Spirit and rebuke the Scriptures. Simply put, do not walk in the ways of those who have not found The Way, rather point them to it.
People who are Idiots
This category of people must be on the list because of its scriptural prevalence. Over and over again in the Proverbs, Solomon warns us about taking advice from fools, “The way of the fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15). Be certain, a fool is quick to give you advice, but perhaps the greater fool is the one who takes it. As a matter of fact, it is good counsel to avoid fools altogether, “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words” (Proverbs 23:9). There are some people in this life that you simply should not waste your time arguing with; therefore, the greatest response to a fool is silence. To take a fool’s advice is to join their efforts.