How To Choose What Advice To Give

by Jack Hyles

I.   Usually let your principles decide.  The more they can decide, the less chances there are for mistake.

1.  Never advise divorce.  Don’t trust your immediate judgment.  A principle is based on a lifetime of learning.

2.  In case of a need to go to a secular college there are three principles.

  • –  Never live in the dorms.
  • –  Only go where there is a nearby red-hot soul-winning church.
  • –  Stay close to home.

3.  Only advise a ministerial student to go to a Baptist college.  (Bob Jones, Pensacola are non- denominational).

4.  Always take the side of the preacher or authority.

5.  In counseling, always find both parties at some fault.  Nobody is ever totally wrong.

6.  Never advise two couples to be best friend couples.  It is very unhealthy for couples to get too close.

7.  Never advise the church members to go into business together.

8.  Never do second person counseling.

9.  Never tell a man where he should go or whom he should marry.  Only approve or veto.

10. Never advise a preacher to resign without a place to go.

11. Never advise a man to be an assistant pastor to a new church.

12. Never advise a layman to move because of a job opportunity or a transfer.

13. Never advise anyone to change fundamental schools.

14. Never advise a preacher to start a church with a split off a fundamental church.

15. Do not advise if not asked.

16. Never advise anyone to marry-until one year before graduation (both parties) and a promise to marry.

17. Do not give advice if the decision is made.

18. Never advise a divorced man to pastor.

19. Only advise the adoption of infants.

20. Never advise anyone to drop out of school for a season.

21. Advise couples who have a child of their own to adopt.

22. Never advise a couple to have a teenager come live with them.

  • These are things that are almost always right to do, and not necessarily wrong not to do.  This is the safe route, despite exceptions.

23. I always advise if there is any doubt, stay.  God led you where you are; He has not yet led you where you are considering going.

24. If there is any doubt, don’t marry.  Never work to decide if she is the right one, or if this is the right time.

25. In counseling, never believe an accusation, unless the accused admits it or you saw it.  (Should I believe what I hear about you?  Why should you believe what you hear about others?)

26. Never marry unsaved people.  (Meet with them and try to win them; if they don’t get saved then, don’t marry them later.

27. Never advise people to follow a preacher when he moves.  God may lead the preacher somewhere else.

28. Try to avoid negative beginnings in your counsel.  Don’t begin by telling them you don’t agree with them.

29. Ask good people to wait six weeks before resigning a position; tell them to come back in six weeks and if they still feel the same way you will accept their resignation.  Often their feelings will change.  (90% effective)

30. Never give marital counseling if only one will come.

31. Suggest that couples marry within an age limit of no more than 25% apart.  (20 &25, 28 & 35, 36 & 45, 40 & 50, 48 & 60, 60& 75, etc.)

32. Give a teenager a chance to be heard.  Tell him you will consider his position honestly and seriously; this is all most what teenagers want.

33. In a dispute between two people, always advise party # one to tell party #two what he thinks is right, but do what party # two thinks is right.  In talking to party # two, tell him just the opposite.  (“In honor preferring one another.”)

34. Always advise a couple have their first child no sooner than two years after marriage and no later than the wife’s 30th year.  It is better for the last child to be born by the time the wife is thirty-five.

35. Always tell the wife that the husband is # 1 in her life.  Tell the husband that the wife is # 2 (God made Adam to care for the Garden of Eden.  He made Eve to care for Adam).  If she has to work, you must do part of her job.

36. Individual relationships in the home are more important than the family circle.  Each person in the home should feel uniquely special to every other person.  Each person should have time alone on a regular basis with every other person; one hour is good.  Never counsel on marital problems without bringing up this point.

37. IF THERE IS A BIBLE PRINCIPLE LET THE PRINCIPLE DECIDE.  (The above principles are for when the Bible does not say.)

38. Let Bible EXAMPLES decide.  (Jehoshaphat joining up with Ahab.)

39. If there is no Bible principle or example and none of the above principles fit, ask God to control your mind, then believe He does and give the advice.

40. When you advise, be honest as to your degree of certainty; ask for time to pray if you are uncertain.  (“I am certain”  “I feel good about this”  “I need time to pray,”  “I need to get a second opinion,” “I don’t know,” “I’d like to investigate,” “I’d like to refer you to someone else”, [mental, legal, or physical problem].)


25% ***** Answered by Bible principles

10% ***** Based on Bible example

50% ***** Based on learned principles

15% ***** Decided by asking God to control you mind

If they take my advice it can’t hurt them.  If they take my advice and it is wrong, it won’t hurt them; it will not be normally wrong.

Counsel couples individually while the other waits outside.  Give advice to both together.

Ask the one if the other’s accusations are true.

It is best for the stronger to abide by the decision of the weaker.

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