Psychiatric Advice 5 Cents

If you grew up in my generation, you know exactly what this means. Lucy would set up shop and offer advice for a nickel, usually to her best client Charlie Brown. Here is where my analogy ends. There’s a difference here between this cute cartoon of the 70’s and what most people want to offer today.

Today it’s often unsolicited advice and I’m not sure how psychiatric it really is.

What is it about human nature that always wants to fix things and fix them quick?

I guess I will apologize in advance, but I’m not trying to be passive-aggressive or roundabout to point out people’s habits. We all have them, and we all do this. It is part of our sinful nature, but like anything else, some are more prolific at it than others.

Stuart Scott wrote about the manifestations of pride in a little booklet called From Pride to Humility. It’s good and quite convicting.

One area he discusses is Voicing preferences or opinions when not asked.

Fixer’s gonna fix…. 

I know because I’m a fixer. When my wife tells me a problem I want to analyze and find a solution, but that’s not what she’s looking for. She wants me to listen. She wants me to empathize. She wants me to be there for her. It’s that simple.

The problem for most of us is the desire to assert our opinions. Even when we haven’t been asked. The antidote for this issue is Being a good listener.

I learned something from a man that I consider incredibly humble. I went to see him once when we were contemplating a major life decision. I told him about the problem and asked him what he thought. The first thing I noticed was he sat there for a little while and thought. He didn’t rush in to answer me right away. Then he asked me some questions. He was seeking to understand the situation more fully. Perhaps he had missed something. He was a good listener. Then he spoke. He is and was the epitome of being “quick to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19).

If we want to impart our wisdom (and we all have some) then we should be sure we fully understand the situation. Then, and most importantly, be sure they are asking for advice.

We all have some expertise in something, but the humble will express their thoughts only when asked. Do we remember Job’s friends? They were awesome at first. They sat with him for seven days and seven nights and never said a thing. When Job expressed his sorrow and regrets, they saw this as an opportunity to advise Job of his problems and provide the solution. That wasn’t what Job needed most. I think it’s a valuable lesson.   


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