Give Them A Favourable Answer
1 Kings 12:7 “They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.””
Rehoboam was a brand new king after his father Solomon died. Solomon left him with a rich united kingdom of Israel. Upon inauguration as a king, Rehoboam received visitors who were led by Jeroboam. These visitors sought to have the nation led slightly differently to ease pressure on the suffering public. They requested that the new king eases their burden probably in relation to taxation. The new king Rehoboam asked these delegation of respected leaders to give him three days to seek an answer to their request. During the three days, he consulted his father’s advisors (king Solomon’s advisors) and he also consulted his age mates and childhood friends who had no experience in politics, governance or leadership. Unfortunately he followed the advice of his inexperienced friends and the kingdom went into a major crisis and broke into two kingdoms. However our concern today is on the good advice that he rejected, since we still need it. The text quoted above is the advice he was given by his father’s advisors. The gist of the advice is – give them a favourable answer!
A favourable answer is an answer that seeks to win them over. An answer that seems to show that you care. An answer that shows that you respect the concerns raised. An answer that shows that even if you may not agree with all their demands, you still respect them and you will do something to assist them. Give them a favourable answer!
1 Kings 12:7 “And they said to him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.”” – English Standard Version
A favourable answer is also translated as speaking good words. A favourable answer has to do with choice of words. Words you select to use in communicating must not project you as not caring, or arrogant or threatening. A favourable answer means even if you are angry, you control your anger and speak well by choosing your words. Don’t use words you will retract in an apology or be embarrassed when they are later replayed. Don’t use words that if recorded in mind or heart or online or electronic devises or published will be regrettable. Give them a favourable answer!
A favourable answer is not just being considerate but deliberately careful about how and what you communicate. A favourable answer means you aim at a win win situation. A favourable answer means you sacrifice your pride. A favourable answer means where you could easily win by invoking your rightful authority and have an easy way out, you take the long route of coming down to the level of others and winning their favour without force. A favourable answer demands more work and effort and humility compared to the easy way of force and authority based directives. Give them a favourable answer!
A favourable answer disarms your opponent, incase their question was a trap to set you up. At times people ask questions to deliberately offend us, so that they get an opportunity to accuse us of impropriety. A favourable answer just like an apology leaves your opponent with no option but to cooperate with you or they and not you will look bad. A favourable answer destroys the evil scheme in questions and challenges posed to us. A favourable answer is a safe bet in all situations. Give them a favourable answer!
Many strikes, industrial actions, altercations, court cases, domestic quarrels, domestic violence, job losses due to insubordination, friendship losses, business losses, loss of best workers, negative tags that forever follow an individual would have been averted had their been a favourable answer. It always begins with an offending or irritating question, but it truly degenerates to a terrible situation because of the answer given. The answer makes the difference! Give them a favourable answer!
Who has paused a trap situation or case or question to you? Who has irritated you and got into your nerves? Is it a senior at work place? Is it a junior at work place? Is it a neighbour? Is it a spouse? Is it a friend? Is it a business partner? Is it a student or a teacher? Is it a friend? Is it an enemy who forever seeks to destroy you? Whoever it is, you are safe by following the counsel Rehoboam rejected. Give them a favourable answer!
A favourable answer doesn’t mean you abandon your position and be enslaved by the one who confronted you, no! It means, you choose words to win them over to your plan. It means you refuse to confront and instead seek to persuade. It means you see things their way for now, then once you win their confidence, you show them your way. A favourable answer means you avert a crisis that follows senseless confrontation of refusing to understand each other. A favourable answer means you temporarily abandon your position since for now it doesn’t make sense or may not be understood, until the appropriate time, which always comes. A favourable answer requires patience but eventually you win. Give them a favourable answer!
Matthew 19:7-9 “(7) They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” (8) He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. (9) And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.””
Jesus responds to questions on why Moses made divorce easy. He tells the people that it was a favourable answer because they were thick, without the capacity to comprehend God’s will. The mosaic permission to divorce was a favourable answer, a stop gap measure. At times we give a favourable answer because we are dealing with thick, incompetent and foolish people who have no capacity at the moment to appreciate the proper response. Sometimes we deal with slow learners who a correct answer may be offensive and divisive. But time always comes after a favourable answer when the right answer is given. Therefore Jesus puts the record straight and says, this easy divorce must come to an end, because now you can comprehend God’s will. Until you can be properly understood – give them a favourable answer!
A favourable answer is not permission to sin. It is addressing a possible crisis by allowing people time to build capacity to appreciate the correct answer. We shouldn’t sin or permit sin, in the name of giving a favourable answer. If the only favourable answer is to permit sin, then it is wise to delay the response if possible, or go ahead and do the right thing and leave the results with God. But where sin is not the issue, always give them a favourable answer!
Acts 17:30 “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,”
God gave a favourable answer in the past by over looking ignorance and seemingly tolerating it, but now He demands everyone to repent. A favourable answer may require you overlook the ignorance for now, as you wait for a time when it is safe and sensible to make authoritative demands. Give them favourable answer!
What would happen if everyone tried to give a favourable answer? What would happen at your work place if you gave a favourable answer? What would happen to your relationship/marriage/family if you gave a favourable answer? What would happen to your neighbourhood if you gave a favourable answer? What would happen to social media discussions if we gave a favourable answer? Give them a favourable answer!
May God give us wisdom and patience to give favourable answers and may we receive the attendant favours and blessings in Jesus name, Amen!(c)firstname.lastname@example.org (do not delete any part of this post, including this. You are free to share these posts but do not edit the authorship or content…thank you and be blessed!)