Good Advice Is Not Good News

And a short Independence Day prayer

Jonas Ellison
4 min readJul 4, 2019


Photo by Seokwon Kim on Unsplash

I’m writing this entry on a platform called Medium. The readership here largely consists of people seeking good advice and writers itching to give it to them.

Advice is fantastic. I’m as big of an advice-seeker as the next person, especially when it comes to fixing things around the house like broken ceiling fans, etc. What would we do without advice? And today, finding it is easier than ever. A quick YouTube search will bring a number of ways to do… anything.

When I first started writing here, I considered it my main job to offer advice. It seemed to be what ‘good content’ was made of. Although I never got too carried away with ‘how-to’ posts or listicles, I was still largely in the business of pedaling advice.

Which is typically fine. But the problem with advice is it’s severely limited when it comes to spiritual matters. Sure, at a certain superficial level, spiritual advice can be helpful. Because if I followed more spiritual advice, I’d realize that maybe I should be more loving, accepting, and forgiving. Maybe I should start praying the Rosary again (it’s been over 30 years since I’ve done it, so maybe it’s time). Perhaps I should meditate more or differently or under the guidance of this app or that guru.

Spiritual advice has totally helped me before. But when it comes to matters of the spirit, we’re bound to reach a place where all the advice in the world isn’t enough because we’ve reached the end of ourselves. At that place, there’s nothing we can do — no prescriptive actions we can take — to save us from a certain level of despair.

When we reach the end of ourselves, good advice does no good — we need good news.

I’m still acclimating to the term ‘good news’. I didn’t know how to take it for the longest time.

What’s this alleged ‘good news’? That I have to NOT do a bunch of satisfying things and live a perfectly pious life for God to love me? Pssshhht, no thanks. That doesn’t sound like good news, it sounds like the worst announcement ever.

Now that I’ve been initiated into the faith, I’m seeing the redemptive meaning of this term... What it’s…



Jonas Ellison

Not here on Medium much anymore. Head over to my Substack to see the latest: 👍🙏🤙