CONTEXT: Matthew Henry comments: A man’s wisdom is here said to be of use to him for the pumping of other people, and diving into them, 1. To get the knowledge of them. Though men’s counsels and designs are ever so carefully concealed by them, so that they are as deep water which one cannot fathom, yet there are those who by sly insinuations, and questions that seem foreign, will get out of them both what they have done and what they intend to do. Those therefore who would keep counsel must not only put on resolution, but stand upon their guard. 2. To get knowledge by them. Some are very able and fit to give counsel, having an excellent faculty of cleaving a hair, hitting the joint of a difficulty, and advising pertinently, but they are modest, and reserved, and not communicative; they have a great deal in them, but it is loth to come out. In such a case a man of understanding will draw it out, as wine out of a vessel. We lose the benefit we might have by the conversation of wise men for want of the art of being inquisitive.
Two things can be learned here. First, that man generally does not like to be told (counseled) what to do and second, a wise counselor can get someone to open up about things (issues).
As a Chaplain for Veterans, Hospice, and the ill, and the Incarcerated I can assure you this is a fact. Folks always fall into one of two categories, one they can’t wait to tell you their story and it’s usually full of half-truths or second, they are reluctant to talk at all. It is my job to listen and when appropriate counsel them.
A growing and disturbing trend in evangelical churches recently has seen a decline in Pastors/Elders who are willing to take on the role of Counselor. As the following Grace to You devotional shows (at least to me) their reasoning is flawed.