Those who are regular followers of my daily devotionals are aware I seldom send out a second notice; however, the convoluted world we live in and the influence of the world’s philosophy on parents makes this simple proverb worth repeating.
“You cannot be a counselor if you do not have a counselee.” That statement is simple enough; however, for this writer who was a veteran youth pastor at the time it was made—it was an eye opener! Like all shepherds who are zealous to see members of the flock choose the straight and narrow way, I was passionate about seeing the teens in my youth ministry choose to love the Lord and serve Him.
I embraced the Apostle Paul’s challenge to Timothy: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). When teens in my youth ministry chose to walk contrary to what they were taught and rejected my counsel—I accepted their decision as my failure. Unfortunately, some parents were more than willing to find a scapegoat for their son or daughter’s rebellion and sinful choices.
“You cannot be a counselor if you do not have a counselee.” mirrors the following observation: The zeal of a counselor and the veracity of his counsel will have little effect when a counselee is callous to spiritual truth. Why? Solomon answers that question in Proverbs 23:9.
Proverbs 23:9 – “Speak [declare; warn; teach] not in the ears of a fool [stupid; silly; dull of hearing]: for he will despise [scorn; have contempt for] the wisdom [prudence; understanding] of thy words [speech; discourse].”
The phrase, “It’s me, not you”, does not apply when it comes to counseling a hardheaded, strong-willed, rebel. Fools have no appetite for wise counsel for they do not value wisdom and instruction. We have seen that truth expressed in earlier proverbs.
Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 9:8 – “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”
The distinguishing trait between the fool and a wise man is how they respond to wise counsel. A fool rejects instruction, but a wise man heeds it! A fool has contempt for a counselor and his counsel, while a wise man loves his counselor and heeds his instructions.
Someone reading today’s devotional is blaming their church, pastor or youth workers for a loved ones rebellion and sinful choices. It is time to put the responsibility for their rebellion where it belongs—on their heart’s attitude toward discipline and instruction.