Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Wicked Advice

The truly happy person doesn’t follow wicked advice . . .
                                                                Psalm 1:1a

Wicked is a strong word, and because of it, I wonder when we read it in scripture, if we discount its applicability to us. After all, if advice seems wicked to me, I doubt I’d follow it!

So what is wicked advice? If we are to be on guard against it, it must be more subtle than what might initially come to mind as wicked. I believe that wicked advice is any advice that contradicts the stirring of the Holy Spirit within us, any advice that discourages us from being who God created us to be.

Wicked advice could be advice that guilts us into acting when we know what we really need is to be still. Wicked advice might be the advice that tells us to be reasonable when what we really want to do is be generous with our resources. Wicked advice may tell us to play it safe, to think about the risks, when our spirit yearns to be part of a mission team to a third-world country, or a blighted neighborhood. Wicked advice could be discouraging one from pursuing a call to a particular vocation because it might not provide a lucrative salary.

Wicked advice can even come from our own self-talk, when we act because we are concerned about what others will think of us if we say no to some request (even to serve some good cause). Not every call to serve is our call to serve. Not every request is one aligned with our truest self and our area of giftedness.

The path to true happiness, which is the path to union with God, means that we must tend our soul with love and care, giving it what it needs to grow and minimizing those things that suck the life out of it. Discerning the difference between these requires us to be attentive to the stirrings within, which is not a practice encouraged in our society. True happiness is found in neither superfluous activity nor superfluous leisure, but in living a life that continually draws us nearer to the One Who created us and Who sustains us.

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