Letter to advice columnist: “The other day, as I drove off to work, my car made a horrible noise, and then the engine began to smoke. The car died about three miles from my house. I had forgotten my cell phone, so I walked home, which took me three hours. When I got home, I found my husband in the arms of another woman. What should I do?”
Advice columnist: “A car can die for a variety of reasons. First, make sure there is no debris in the fuel line. If that is clear, check the radiator hose. A leak may cause the engine to overheat. If this doesn’t fix the problem, I suggest having the car towed to a reputable mechanic.”
Sometimes, we give really good advice – to the wrong problem.
For example, if you know someone who has suffered the trauma of infidelity within his or her marriage, don’t try to fix them. Listen to them. Be slow to offer a point-by-point solution. Unless you are trained in the field, tread lightly, weep openly, and pray fervently.
The Bible tells us to “bear” one another’s burdens, not to “fix” them (Galatians 6:2). Your friend needs you to offer support. They can pay for professional therapy, but your friendship in their time of crisis is priceless.
Recovery Step: Be wise with your words. If you know someone who is hurting (you do!), learn when to show up, speak up – and shut up.