The Affliction to Give Advice
“Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business.”1
In much younger and far less experienced days, I recall how a psychologist friend described some people as being “cursed with the affliction to give advice.” At that time I had no idea what he meant.
Today, however, perhaps a “nicer” way to describe these people is that they can be very officious. According to Google, being officious basically means to be intrusive in a meddling or offensive way, marked by excessive eagerness in offering unwanted [or unsolicited] services or advice to others. It means generally … sticking your nose in places where it's not wanted.”
The Australians have an interesting saying for people who stick their nose into other people’s business and that is, they are being “sticky beaks!”
Certainly the Bible doesn’t use slang terms, but it does make it clear that we are not to meddle in other people’s business. This doesn’t mean that we are not to give help where help is needed and requested, but it does mean we are not to give unsolicited advice or help when such is not wanted. Actually, for me to give you unsolicited and unwanted advice is basically a “put down” in that I am implying that I know more about your situation than you know, and that I know better about what you need to do than you know. This is rather presumptuous to put it mildly.
Furthermore, it is important that we don’t do for others what they are quite capable of and need to do for themselves. Doing this for others keeps them over-dependent on us and both of us immature. Be assured too, that neither will God do for us what he has already equipped us to do for ourselves.
Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me not to be a ‘sticky-beak’ by meddling in other peoples’ business but just to be available if my help is requested and genuinely needed. In all such situations, please help me to be ‘as Jesus’ to the person in need. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen.”
1. 2 Thessalonians 3:11 (NLT).