Shows Main Idea – One of the side-effects of sickness among caring friends is unsolicited advice from folks who love you. Often they don’t realize the burden of their advice.
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Have you ever shared a health-prayer request with others, and then you began to receive a lot of unsolicited health advice and ways to be cured? It does happen because Christians care for others. They want to help, which is why they offer advice.
It’s the gospel.
But then there is another aspect of the gospel that enters more deeply into a caregiver’s life to help them see what is not evident on the surface. In Hebrews 4:13 we learn how the Lord can see the unseen.
We want to proximate (Ephesians 5:1) that kind of care in the lives of our friends. It can only happen with the Spirit’s illuminating influence (John 16:13). Surface care is essential, but soul care is better. Sometimes withholding our opinions (James 1:19) can go a long way in caring for the hurting.
Two Levels of Gospel Care:
- Level one: “I care for you, which is why I’m giving you advice.”
- Level two: “I care for you, which is why I’m not giving you advice.” or, “I’m going to give you carefully “caveated” advice that releases you from any expectation to follow through with what I’m suggesting to you.”
Speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
Thank you so much for your care. I really do consider it an honor that you care for me, especially at this time. Right now I believe (and I would not hold back from dropping the “God card” right here) God wants me to follow (fill in the blank) advice.
They have laid out a plan for me and I believe this is the best direction for me, at least for now. Be assured that I will consider your advice. And though I know you have already, but please pray for me. If the Lord leads in another direction, I’m most definitely open to it.
This is new for me, as you can imagine, which is why I’m holding my plans loosely. Again, thank you for your care. Your care and prayers are the things that bring me daily encouragement.
This kind of framework will let them know that (1) you are “in faith” for what you’re doing, and (2) you are drawing a clear line while not being dismissive of their care, which only the truth can do.
If you need to guard your heart during this season of sickness, here are three considerations that may tempt to trip you up.
- Fear of man: “I don’t want to disappoint them by rejecting their advice.”
- Self-righteousness: “I’m frustrated about all this advice I’m receiving from others.”
- Faithlessness: “I wonder if they are right and if I’m making a mistake.”