No one person has all the answers to the pain we experience in life. No one of us knows all the ways to cope, to heal, and to move on. But there is a lot of wisdom out there that we can and should seek out and tap into.
Here’s the story of a young man who refused wise counsel. Solomon is known as one of the wisest men who ever lived, but his son Rehoboam was somewhat of a fool. (It is possible to mingle with very wise people and not catch wisdom.) Rehoboam was challenged by his people to give some consideration for the workload King Solomon had placed upon the people. The wise older counselors suggested that Rehoboam be humane and compassionate by showing mercy to the people. But his contemporaries advised him to show his toughness, to be a man, to stand up and show who was King! Rehoboam followed this advice- and as a result he lost two-thirds of his kingdom.
Bad advice, like good advice, is always available. So how do you find good counselors when you need them? Start by listening to people whose lives demonstrate a deep love for God and whose lives have a history of order and peace. Consider people who have succeeded in the areas you currently struggle. Seek relationship advice from people who have healthy happy relationships. For ministry advice, look for people who serve joyfully and appear well-balanced and consistent. In every counselor, look for the spirit of Jesus. That is wisdom.
When you do find a counselor, their advice must be interpreted. You can’t always do what someone else did and get the same results. Listen for the principles and values expressed in the counselor’s advice. Older people may be culturally separated from you but may be principally relevant. Take your time and talk to more than one. Notice that Rehoboam talked to Solomon’s older counselors, but rejected their advice. When you listen to your contemporaries, is it because you are culturally connected or because they are connected to wise principles?
The bottom line in all advice is the answer to this question: “How do I move forward after trauma and honor God with my life?” Sometimes that means short-term pain for long-term gain- foregoing the shortcuts to healing and pressing in to Jesus with forgiveness and grace for those who have hurt you. You will save yourself a lot of pain in life by looking for wisdom rather than comfort. Wisdom is at times the harder road, but always results in the happy ending.