Be Still Know
READ: Proverbs 12.15-16 NLT
‘Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.’
The language of Proverbs is very black and white. The writer speaks of the wise and does everything he can think of to illustrate how wonderful it is to live in this way. It’s a life of happiness, prosperity and peace and is marked by humility, grace and generosity. It stands in complete contrast to the fool whose way of life is miserable, poor and full of conflict. I suspect that all of us recognise that we lurch between these two extremes. We can see the huge blessings of being wise but have to admit that we are still capable of foolishness at times. If that describes you (and it certainly describes me) the value of Proverbs is that it gives us some clear practical pointers to how to live wisely.
These verses give us two pieces of valuable advice. Firstly, listen to others with care because by doing so we are allowing ourselves
to be blessed by their experience and wisdom. We won’t always be wrong, of course, but it is always good for us to check our thinking by those who have a wider and deeper experience of life. I am delighted that mentoring has become so popular in recent years, and I find it an enriching part of my own life both as a mentor and mentee. However confident you may be about a course of action you need to check your thinking with others.
Secondly, we need to stay calm when we are insulted. That’s great advice but it’s incredibly tough. If someone is rude to us the instinct is to hit back immediately for self-preservation, but the wiser course is for us to keep calm and to respond in a measured way when we have had time to think things through. A quick-tempered outburst is bound to make things worse. I’m so glad that we can read this wise advice through the perspective of the New Testament and to know that God has given us his Holy Spirit to strengthen us and give us his wisdom amidst the rough and tumble of life.
QUESTIONS: In what way do you need the Holy Spirit to help you to be wise in your relationships with others?
PRAYER: Lord God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon me so that I will become increasingly wise and gracious each day. Amen
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