Today’s devotional is a reprint of Kate Moon’s blog originally posted on December 26, 2013. Kate continues to serve the Lord in E. Asia.
Devotional Thought for Today
“What It Really Means to be Wise”
“If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.”
Growing up, when I would get into fights with my younger sisters over something, our parents would often say to me, “You’re the older one – as the older one, you should give way to the younger girls.” I thought it was so unfair. Why should I be the one to give in? And what did being older have anything to do with it?
As adults, we’ve come to understand what my parents meant, that being the more mature one means that one doesn’t always have to insist on things being fair. The older one, emotionally, has more wherewithal to deal with not getting to have things his or her way. If there is only one ice cream left but two children, the older one, if mature enough, can let the younger one have it, because the older one has compassion on the younger, because the older one knows that he or she can better handle the disappointment of going without.
Our Scripture for today is a proverb about what happens when a wise person and a fool go to court. In other places in the Bible, there are warnings against going to court too hastily (Proverbs 25:8) and encouragement to resolve matters before it gets to that point (Matthew 5:25). Here, too, I think we can take this proverb as a warning to the wise against insisting on fairness to the end, especially if one’s adversary is someone less wise.
As the wiser person, it’s not about looking down on someone and saying, “I’m wise, you’re foolish; because I’m the better person, I will give in to you.” That would be proud and actually less than mature. Mature wisdom sees those who are not there yet with mercy and compassion, and knowing they themselves are better able to handle giving way, they yield, graciously.
We need to stand our ground on important issues. But for the lesser, can we be the wise one today? “Choose your battles;” some of the wisest counsel I’ve ever received.
Prayer: Lord, I confess that I am not the wisest, but if I encounter conflict today, would you give me the grace to yield and not have to insist to the end on things being fair? As you have been gracious to me, help me to be to others. In Jesus’ name.
Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 10
Lunch Break Study
Read Proverbs 29:11, 22: “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. 22 An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.”
Questions to Consider
- We often talk about “venting” to our friends and how we “need” to do this. But what does the Bible say (v. 11)?
- What is the wise person’s response in frustrating situations? (v. 11)
- What is the result of letting ourselves be controlled by anger rather than keeping anger under control (v. 22)? What happened the last time I either spoke or acted out of anger?
- Venting is what fools do. We need to be able to share, but sometimes it can go too far.
- He/she is able to manage his/her emotions.
- Dissension and sin. Usually when we act in anger, we do things we regret later.
How were my interactions with the people around me today? With family members, shopkeepers, restaurant workers? Did I give way to others more or did they give way to me?