Self-important Christians! We sometimes consider ourselves experts as we learn more and grow in the Lord. We have all the answers to others’ problems. Before listening to the problem completely, we give them an answer.
When Samuel went to anoint King Saul’s successor, he thought Eliab was the right man for the job. God reminded Samuel that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. David, the youngest son of Jesse, was God’s man.
When David told the prophet Nathan about his plan to build the temple, Nathan quickly told David to go ahead and do it. But later that day, God told Nathan that David was not the man to build the temple. Nathan had to go back to David and correct his counsel.
I have often joined a small group to listen to someone talk about one of their problems. Before listening to the complete story, one person speaks up. “I have had that problem. Here’s what you need to do about it.” But perhaps you have not listened long enough to understand their problem. And, maybe, God doesn’t want them to handle the situation as you did.
That may be why Proverbs 18:13 (KJV) says, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” James 1:19 cautions, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.” Proverbs 15:28 gives this critical statement, “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer.”
For one Christian to counsel another, he must be sure his heart is right with God. Then determine from the Scriptures and under the direction of the Holy Spirit what he should counsel the brother or sister in Christ.