Recognizing Bad Advice

Recognizing Bad Advice

The November 2019 Readers Digest has an article called The Worst Advice I Ever Got. Here are some of the entries:

• A rookie fireman was advised to start smoking; it would help him acclimate his lungs to the smoke in a building fire.

• A grandfather told his grandchild: “If you see a bear and don’t have time to run away, hug it. Bears can’t scratch their stomachs.” (Not true, by the way.)

• A father, teaching his teenager to drive, said, “Always weave a little, and all the other cars will stay away from you.”

• The funniest one (for me) was the mom who often told her son, “Be a Michael, not a Sonny.” (As in Corelone, of the The Godfather.) His response: “How about I probably shouldn’t behave like any member of the Mafia?”

The article got me to thinking about some bad advice I received once: “Go ahead and buy the car you want, even if you can’t afford it. The joy of owning it will motivate you to work harder to make the payments.” Who offered this advice? My financial counselor? My frugal parents? No, the salesman who was trying to sell it to me.

However, the worst advice that I have listened to over the years is my own — ie, making decisions without bothering to seek counsel from those who know so much more than me. As Solomon said…

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. (Proverbs 12:15)

As we grow in Christ we need to develop the habit of getting advice, and develop the skill of learning to weed out the worst ideas.