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Archive for April, 2017

Haleakala Sunrise

Haleakala Sunrise

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding” (Proverbs 3:13 NIV).

Wisdom and understanding go hand in hand. In fact, wisdom without understanding can be worse than useless. It is sometimes dangerous. Wisdom and understanding are different. One gains understanding through experience. When you go through trials and tribulation you are gaining understanding and compassion. Finding wisdom could be through some type of formal education. Through formal education the Pharisees learned the letter of the law. They considered themselves wise and loved to impart their wisdom to others. Jesus was not impressed. They lacked understanding.

Wisdom without understanding could be described as truth without tact. I have witnessed times when sharing the stark truth was harmful. People say “the truth hurts,” but if it is presented in love and compassion, it doesn’t have to hurt. Without love and compassion the stark truth can be harmful. It can break a friendship or hurt a loved one. The truth must always be spoken in love and understanding. Applying understanding is what makes truth so powerful.
Truth and wisdom lose power without understanding.

For example, a middle school teacher tells a student, in front of his parents, at a teacher’s conference that he is an average student and that he will always be an average student. The teacher tells the parents that they should expect no more than an average grade from him. This may have been the truth at the time. How do you suppose it affected the boy? Now he has been branded as an average student by the teacher, his parents, and himself. God may have gifted him in an area that has not been touched in middle school – like chemistry or physics. What possible reason would he have to make any effort to do better or try something difficult?

Perhaps you have seen a guy holding a sign that says “Repent ― the end of the world is near.” Think about what that sign says to a non-believer, someone who may not believe in an afterlife. It says grab all the enjoyment you can today because your time is short. With more understanding, the sign maker might have chosen a better message.

Another example is when a committed Christian believer tells a non-believer they are going to hell. Instead of telling them that they can change that situation by simply repenting and following Jesus, the Christian says nothing more. While it is true that non-believers will spend eternity outside of the presence of God, sharing the solution would have shown understanding.

On the night before the great Chicago fire (October 8, 1871) D.L. Moody ended his sermon by asking people to consider what he had preached and be prepared to make a decision for Christ the next week. For the rest of his life their deaths from that fire haunted him. Never again did he preach about sin without also preaching the gospel. Overnight Moody received understanding.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). This verse has been powerful in my life. The more I learned about the Word of God ― the Bible ― the wiser I became. And with that wisdom came an attitude of humility. I remind myself that Moses – the great lawgiver was the humblest man on earth (Numbers 12:3). I have a long way to go, but I have come far!

No matter how far I have come, I am still simple when compared to the Word of God. The most I can really ever do is listen to a person with compassion and encourage them with the Word.

Father God, help me to share all wisdom with which You empower me, cocooned in understanding. Speaking the truth in love, and loving the truth, are ways to glorify You. Give me an attitude of humility as I share wisdom and understanding. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

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