There are no rules, but one: obtain a genuine love for someone before you ever say anything. You should be able to pray for them and ask the Lord to soften your heart towards them. Otherwise, if you do go to them, your words may be correct, but your attitude will be wrong.

We need to learn how to deal with people through the throne and not try to wrestle with flesh and blood. There are some people who are always having dreams and visions and words and the more they have, the less credible they become. But I am ready to listen to the quiet brother or sister who says a few sentences that I know are born out of a deep relationship with God and are the result of much prayer. I think the more we pray, the less we try to instruct others and leave them to God.

I think it’s better to have the kind of rapport with someone where you can give and accept criticism. For one thing you know that they really care about you and aren’t just trying to win an argument or make themselves out to be something special by taking you on.

I keep saying that you can have the WHAT and mess up the HOW. Some people think knowing WHAT means HOW is unimportant. We need to wait for the WHAT, the WHEN, and the HOW, particularly when dealing with people you hardly know, have no relationship with, and who didn’t ask for your opinion. The picture coming to mind is sitting at the foot of the Cross waiting for someone to humble themselves enough to come there and ask for your help. Letting the Father draw them. Of course, He could send you too. There is no set pattern. But I do know He desires us to be under His constraint.

WE cannot help people. Those who are helped, are helped by the Lord. There is a purpose in the desert and if we interfere with too much counsel, advice, or instruction, we can interrupt what God intends to work into a person. There are a lot of “one-another’s” – love, pray, serve, submit, forgive, encourage – but I haven’t found a “counsel one-another.” I believe there IS a place for Godly counsel, but “not as we’ve known it.”

The crux of the matter is that we cannot TELL anyone what to do. We cannot impart revelation. Who knows better what a brother needs: another brother, another sister, or the Father? What we can and should do is bring one another to CHRIST as the Source. IN HIM are hidden ALL the treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge. Why settle for anything less?!

I always take the position that God shares something with me about someone else in order to pray for them, not counsel them. We have to learn how to deal with each other via the throne and not always go for the direct approach, which more times than not is misunderstood or not appreciated. Remaining silent in the midst of misunderstanding and choosing not to respond is not as passive as you may think. It is a resolution to deal with the situation via the Throne and not put forth the fleshly hand to handle it myself. The same holds true for offering counsel or sharing words from the Lord.

Second, after we have prayed concerning what we have seen regarding someone else, if God intends for us to share it, then He will work in the other person’s heart to prepare the way. When someone just plops down in front of me and says, “The Lord told me to tell you…” then I just automatically shut them out. The Lord is not going to tell someone else to tell me when He can speak to me perfectly well (the exception would be if I am living in sin). Anything that is said will be a confirmation (not a revelation) of what He has already been speaking to me. I think the very worst thing we can do is run out and tell the other person without giving the Lord an opportunity to work in their heart and prepare the way for what we are saying, assuming that He even wants us to share it to begin with.

Third, I have found that it is bad to either give or receive unsolicited counsel. Everyone wants to be a teacher and counselor, but there is little fear of the Lord. I don’t care if you are speaking in the name of the Lord or not, if you are not asked for your opinion or counsel or advice then KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. For one thing, everyone has a word for everyone else and is trying to get the speck out of the other person’s eye when they have a beam in their own eye. We are not each other’s priest, and we do not represent God on behalf of one another. We are all priests and prophets and kings in this Kingdom.

To tie it all together, if God shows you something about someone then it should be a matter of prayer first and foremost. Why jump to the conclusion that you are destined to share it at all? There is no harm in praying over it. Just because it is laid on your heart doesn’t mean it is supposed to be announced to anyone other than the Lord. As we pray we trust the Lord to work in the situation according to His Will. As we continue to pray, we may have contact with the person in question, but if nothing is said or asked of you then remain silent and allow the Lord to work through your prayers. If the person in question asks for your opinion, or asks if the Lord has shown you anything, then you might venture to say what He has shown you. But even then you must use wisdom in your approach. And if they do not ask, then the Lord has not opened their heart to receive, so remain in prayer and do not force the issue. If the Lord has not moved on their heart, how can we improve upon Him?

So there are no rules, but one: obtain a genuine love for someone before you ever say anything. You should be able to pray for them and ask the Lord to soften your heart towards them. Otherwise, if you do go to them, your words may be correct, but your attitude will be wrong, and they will use your attitude as an excuse to dismiss what you’re saying. This is human nature. It would be difficult for me to refuse to hear someone that comes to me with tears in their eyes because they love me so much and have been praying for me. It is much easier to refuse to hear someone whom I don’t know, who has no tears, and whom I sense is only trying to make me look bad. Even if the truth is on their side, it is difficult to get past their spirit.

So I would say, guard your heart first of all. This should automatically slow you down and make you quiet, once you come to the Lord and ask for Light. The Light helps us to see the thoughts and intents of the heart. It’s the only way to stay humble. We don’t get humble by reminding ourselves to be humble. We are meek because we come to the Light and God shows us our real condition. Then we dare not lift ourselves up or think too highly of ourselves.

There is no need to be hasty. In fact, out of 100 hasty actions, hardly any of them will be led of the Spirit. Watch and pray, give the Lord a chance to work. It helps to remember that you are not the Holy Spirit. You are not responsible for convicting people of sin. Give them to God and let Him do His work. Part of that work may be to use you, and you have to be prepared for that also. Seldom are we always prepared to speak and act in total love. So it is wise to move slowly, yet confidently.

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Chip Brogden
CHIP BROGDEN is an author, teacher, and former pastor who shares "real, simple, truth" about a Christ-centered faith that is based on relationship, not religion. Learn more »

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