The phrase "I told you so" is probably one of the most self indulging things we could possibly say. After all, it explicity tells the person spoken to that we were right and they were wrong. Doesn't the phrase give you some sort of satisfaction? Not that it is right. I would bet that most of you are tracking with me here, even though the feelings aren't necessarily the most mature and are mostly prideful.
As a leader or an "older and wiser" individual it takes discipline of the heart and mind (and mouth to be sure) to gently counsel someone who refused to listen to good advice and is consequently suffering because of their poor decision. It is hard to say "I told you so" without an attitude.
We find Paul in a similar situation in Acts 27 on his way to Rome. Paul, an experienced shipwrecker, warned the crew that sailing was too dangereous at this time and that they would meet with disaster if they tried to press on (v9-12). The helmsman didn't listen to Paul, but to his crew and lo and behold, they ended up in a storm, off course and fearing for their lives. So...what did Paul say?
But after long abstinence of food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss." (Acts 27:21 NKJV)
There it is. The "I told you so". Paul seized the teachable moment. However, please take notice here that it doesn't appear that Paul was arrogant (at least I hope he wasn't). He didn't go on and on and on about his being right. In fact, in his next sentence, he encouraged them that they would be okay, despite their poor decision.
"And I now urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.' Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me." (Acts 27:22-25 NKJV)
What an example for us to follow. When we can take the "I told you so" and turn it into a credit to God and a teaching on faith without the pride in our hearts, that is really saying something. I wonder how much faith was built that day in the hearts of the crew members that Paul's God was real!
APPLICATION: The older I get physically and the more spiritually mature I get each day, I will get more and more opportunities to help the "young". They will not always listen to my advice, and when they don't and fall on their little faces, I should be ready to pick them back up again, dust them off and provide a teachable faith moment ... without the prideful attitude. Lord, protect me from pride.