A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

– John C. Maxwell

How do you give health and lifestyle advice to your loved ones without coming across as bossy or holier-than-thou? Pride is a hard pill to swallow when you’re being told what you’re doing wrong. In fact, in a society of relativism, the line between what’s right and wrong has become increasingly blurred.


People can be very sensitive to their rights as humans to control how they live, even when it comes to things that are harmful to them physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. So what’s the secret to counseling on sensitive topics? How do you hint to a family member to start eating more healthily or advise a friend to stay away from a toxic relationship?

The key: love.


The apostle Paul famously wrote to the Corinthians that even with all the knowledge and abilities in the world, without love, “it profits…nothing”. In other words, unless you back up all your scientific and psychological arguments with genuine concern for the other person, you might as well be trying to bite through a wall.

    So what is love exactly? According to the Bible (ESV)

      Love IS:

  • patient
  • kind
  • bearing of all things
  • hopeful
  • enduring
  • trusting

       Love IS NOT:

  • envious
  • boastful
  • arrogant
  • rude
  • insistent on its own way
  • irritable
  • resentful

In the whole passage Paul beautifully describes love and in essence, God’s character.

Remember: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

In my own experience, I’ve definitely I’ve had to stop at times and add some proverbial sugar to my spoon before administering the dose. How have you handled opposition when trying to give advice?


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