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Following Failures: Listening to Bad Counsel
After reading where a person I know will be getting a divorce for the second time, I thought about why people continue to follow the counsel of people who fail to succeed in their own lives. I mean, if you claim to be giver of wise counsel; especially on biblical matters, shouldn't your life reflect that? I understand that we all fail, but it is what we do with those failures that matters. And it should matter if the person continues to make the same mistake over and over; such as multiple divorces.
What is more disturbing is when people who so often fail at basic life events, act like it is no big deal or that it just happened outside of their control. They want people to just give them a pass and move on. Of course we should all pray, "But by the grace of God, there go I" whenever we see people tempted, drawn away, or falling into corruption. For we are a Fallen people, a sinful people that needs the grace and mercy of God.
However, there is a theme in the Bible that seems to speak of wise counsel and wise judgment.
We should wonder not only about the wisdom of following the counsel of repeated failures, but also look into who is counseling those failures. For example, the person who I know that will be twice divorced was "counseled" in her marital situation by an "elder" and seminary president who himself has had very, very questionable doctrinal and behavioral issues. He was even the man who literally walked this person down the aisle to what would ultimately become a second failed marriage. The symbolism is ironically painful to see.
My point is, beyond this specific situation is that when a person has a history of failure of right choices, we should take care to limit our counsel from such a person. There is an old adage; "To be successful, follow the successful. Mimic their success.
My wife and I, though not perfect have made a specific effort to be an example to our child as how a happy marriage can be. We have modeled motherhood, fatherhood, wife roles, husband roles. We try to do this not only for our own child but for friends; young couples.
It is one thing for the Church (and "elders" and "seminary presidents") to counsel and give blessings upon a person's life choices, but it is another thing to speak up even when it may be..."offending". I would have told this person I know, that she was getting married too quickly after her first failed marriage. I would have counseled her to seek what her role was in why the first marriage ended. To me, she seemed to be trying too hard to replace what she hoped to have in the first marriage. Perhaps further, she could see if traits within her own control contribute to destructive relationships.
At any rate, be careful of the advice you get; especially from people with a track record of failure. Failure in basic life events should be a red flag that their grasp of other elements, such as understanding the Bible may be questionable.
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