There’s No I Told You So

by Joanna Pierce on September 25, 2019

Do you like being right? I know I do. There’s great satisfaction in knowing what you said is true.

For a brief time in my work history, I was business consultant, providing recommendations for solutions, process improvement, or remediation. But, as a consultant, you do just that: consult. You can’t force anyone to take your advice.

It always felt great when workgroups listened to data- and industry standard-driven recommendations. They’d implement the suggestions and achieve successful outcomes. In the end, I was satisfied because it worked, and slightly because I was right. (The warm and fuzzy feeling ensues.)

But, not everyone took advice—as they’re not required—and moved forward with their own plans, sometimes contrary to recommendations. When they were successful, I was happy for them. But, when they were struggling in the aftermath of their decisions, sometimes it took everything within me not to say, “I told you so.”

Do not gaze and gloat [in triumph] over your brother’s day, The day when his misfortune came. Do not rejoice over the sons of Judah In the day of their destruction; Do not speak arrogantly [jeering and maliciously mocking] In the day of their distress (Obadiah 1:12, AMP).

You might be a lot like me—finding it difficult not to gloat when others aren’t successful (especially when they don’t implement your advice). In every situation, it’s challenging not to revel in someone’s shortcomings and not announce, “I told you so” (in a sing-song voice) from the rooftops.

I know I’m not the only one out there who struggles with an evil bone (it’s also called flesh, in case you were wondering). My flesh rises up and starts operating in a prideful, jealous, unloving, and ungodly spirit. If I don’t keep my flesh in check, it can burst forth in those moments and behave contrary to what the prophet Obadiah writes in Scripture.

You may not struggle to keep the “I-told-you-so’s” to yourself, but your elation may manifest in another form. A repressed smile, eye twitch, or fleeting thought of happiness when seeing someone in the middle of a mess is all the same to God. No matter what it is, God says simply not to do it.

What’s worse to consider is this instruction wasn’t given because of a conflict with an enemy, but a brother! Has this hit close to home yet? This means God doesn’t want any inkling of this in our relationship with our spouses, children, extended families, coworkers, classmates, neighbors, church members, or anyone else. We’re not justified in any instance; we’re without excuse.

I know I need God’s help every day to keep myself aligned with Him, and that includes my thoughts, words, and actions. I want God to change my heart so the words, “I told you so” aren’t in my vocabulary or the first thought I try to repress. I desire compassion, love, and understanding to spring forth instead, as well as a willingness to help a brother or sister in need.

Lord, help all of us to honestly reflect and examine our hearts. How do we act when someone has experienced misfortune? What is our first reaction when someone fails when they don’t heed advice? What’s in our heart that’s not in alignment with the Word? Change us so we reach for the hurting instead of rejoicing over destruction. Help us to remember there’s no, “I told you so.”