Now, I like high-sounding words – and I like arranging and rearranging them in sentences, paragraphs and points that convey deep thoughts. I like them so much, I spend a fair amount of time writing letters in my head, or having conversations, with many high-sounding words, imagining all the points I could make to help people I love, on how avoid the potholes and brick walls that I hit square on. Mrs. Adams prods me to reconsider all the good advice I am tempted to give. She would ask me, what deeds back up all your advice? In other words,
“Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold -- but so does a hard-boiled egg.” (An anonymous quote)
Once in a while I am asked for advice – not as frequently as I am asked for my prayers, though. Here again, it’s not what I say, but what I do, believing God is stirring up the prayers He will answer in His time.
When I am asked, what I would say, are summed up by two principles, and a set of powerful examples: (emphases added)
The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right. ~Hannah Whitall Smith ( a woman who lived with many disappointments)God, please make a woman of deeds and doing – instead of pontificating! But when I need to speak, give me the courage to speak the truth in love. Keep me from saying anything I am not doing myself. And stir up in me prayers, believing whatever I ask in Christ’s name You will do.
In giving advice seek to help, not to please, your friend. ~Solon (An architect of Athenian democracy)
“Keep your mouth shut, be pleasant and try to be useful.” (My mother and mother-in-law)