One who has isolated himself seeks his own desires;
he rejects all sound judgment.
I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m kind of an introvert. In some settings I have learned to be a people person, but a lot of it has been learned behavior. There have been a few times though, that being in groups of people felt natural to me. And they were all in church.
I remember in our church growing up, feeling that all these people were more like family than they were a crowd of people. That has also happened so some extent in other churches we have worked in over the years.
All that to say, I understand those who have a hard time opening up to a group of people, or even being around large groups of people. I get it. I’m right there with ya.
But, while I understand the anxiety that comes with that, I also know that there is much to be gained from being in community. There is much to be gained by not being all by yourself in this world. It is not just relationships and community, but also wisdom.
In fact, we see that the one who doesn’t join in community rejects all sound judgement. It is in not normal to be by yourself. It is not normal to struggle in isolation. It’s not the way we were designed or created. From the very beginning of human history, we were not alone. In fact, God made Eve because He saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone.
Even more than relationships, we find sound judgement in community. You’ve probably experienced this in your life, but may not have given the credit to community and relationships. For instance…
Have you ever had a problem you’ve been facing in life, but just couldn’t come up with a good solution? Sure you have. Everyone has. But then, you mention it to one person and they are able to see it from a totally different perspective to you, and they give you an idea that you wouldn’t have ever come up with on your own. Sound judgement doesn’t come in isolation. Sound judgement comes in relationships.
If you have been struggling with a situation, find some community and you’ll likely find the answer you’ve been looking for.
Let me just encourage you who are introverts. It doesn’t seem to be worth the risk to let people into your life, but let me assure you that it is. Even if it’s only for a season, these relationships add stuff to your life that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. And though they may move on, and you aren’t as connected as you once were, they added something that you didn’t have before.
So, go ahead. Give it another try. If you “still haven’t found what you’re looking for” it may be because you’re trying to find it in yourself, and that’s just not going to happen. 1 is too small a number to achieve greatness.
The truly wise person restrains his words,
and the one who stays calm is discerning.
Even a fool who remains silent is considered wise,
and the one who holds his tongue is deemed discerning.
I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t realize just how many proverbs there were that spoke about not speaking. I knew they were there, but there are so many of them. I’m also going to tell you that, this has become something that is high on my radar now. I am more aware than ever of the people in my life who have a habit of saying too much.
One thing I’ve observed is: when you talk too much, you say too much. At some point during the course of the profuse refuse protruding from your mouth, there is going to be some junk come out that you shouldn’t say. The more words that come out of your mouth, the higher the likelihood of you saying something dumb.
It’s pretty simple math, really. If you’re not good with words, then you should really limit how many words you say. If you have a tendency of saying stupid things, then you should restrain yourself from saying very much. If you have a tendency to brag when you talk, then you should talk less. The more words you say, the higher the probability you’re going to say something wrong or foolish or dumb.
It’s a literal word problem. Except, you don’t solve the problem with the words. You solve the problem by cutting out words. If you do, you’ll start to notice something…other people have good ideas…often times others have ideas that are beter than yours. If you can just shut your mouth, you might be able to learn something. You are not the only one who knows things about stuff. There are other people who know stuff. There are other people who know more stuff than the things you know. But, you don’t know that because you never shut your mouth.
Solve the word problem.
Even if you’re a fool, if you use fewer words, you will have the appearance of being wise. And, as you’ve heard, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt.” When you talk too much, you say too much.
It is terrible to punish a righteous person,
and to flog honorable men is wrong.
I don’t have a way to know this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” came from this passage. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, but just thought I’d throw that out there.
Anyway, have you ever seen one of those movies or heard a story of someone who was wrongfully imprisoned? I have, in fact, I went looking for one when I came across this proverb. Take a listen to this guy’s story.
Can you imagine what that would be like? Especially if you were Alton Logan? You spend all that time in prison, knowing that you didn’t do what you had been convicted of doing, and then one day you get out. Do you get that pit in your stomach? So, you’ve just spent 26 years in prison for a crime you didn’t commit. So long that you stopped counting days or months and just counted the years. And all along, you were innocent.
Even worse than that would be finding out that there was someone on the outside who knew that you were innocent and could prove it. They actually knew who the guilty person was, and they knew that the person who was sitting in prison and paying the penalty for the crime had nothing to do with it. It would be bad enough to know you had wasted all that time, but then to know that all along someone knew and could have rescued you.
It’s awful. It’s awful to think of how many more might be sitting in the same position, but have no hope that they might be rescued. This is why this proverb is important. It truly is terrible to punish a righteous person. It’s terrible to flog honorable men.
Wisdom is directly in front of the discerning person,
but the eyes of a fool run to the ends of the earth.
A foolish child is a grief to his father,
and bitterness to the mother who bore him.
What a great proverb for leadership. If you wonder why you should trust Solomon when he talks about leadership, here are two reasons: He was the wealthiest man that ever lived with the largest kingdom on earth. He understood leadership. (By the way, we’re all leaders. Just because I used the word leadership doesn’t exclude this proverb from applying to you…)
One of the problems many leaders face is the temptation to always be 10 miles down the road. Leaders tend to be dreamers. They like to think in big pictures and dream about all the things that could be. They are able to look at a situation and see all the things that could happen, and then take those dreams out to a great distance.
What’s wrong with that? Well, nothing necessarily. Except when you don’t pay attention to what’s right in front of you. The problem is when you’re always looking for the next big thing, the next great thing down the road or around the bend and never focusing on what’s right in front of you. It’s great to dream, but if you always only live in the dream, you’re just a day dreamer. At some point, you have to focus on what’s right in front of you.
Yes, as a leader, it is your responsibility to dream. But it is also your responsibility to know exactly where you are right now and all the challenges that lie in front of you. You will never get to the dream if you don’t start with the first step. The temptation is to think that you deserve the dream without doing any of the work to get there.
Do you want to know the only way you deserve the dream? If you take all the steps between here and the dream to get there. There are no shortcuts to the dream. There is no easy button. There is magic pipe you can climb down into and skip to level 4. There is no such thing as an overnight success.
But there are steps. There is something you can do right now that will lead you to where you want to be. There is something you can do today that will be a step toward where you want to be in the dream. Dreams aren’t tangible. Steps are. Dreams don’t have legs. You do.
So, focus on what’s right in front of you. Focus on the things you can do today. Focus on what you need to do today to take you to the next step tomorrow. Before you know it you will be a lot closer to your dream. If you just sit and stare at the horizon and wait for it to get here, you’ll spend your life staring at the horizon.
A wicked person receives a bribe secretly
to pervert the ways of justice.
You don’t have to stop and think long before come to the worst bribe that was ever taken. If you stop for a moment, you can probably fill in the blank with the name _______.
You could probably make a case for why you would betray most people. Most people have done something wrong enough to be worthy of being betrayed. We’ve all done something stupid, said something stupid or treated someone in a stupid way. There’s no doubt that all of us could be condemned, and it would be that unreasonable for someone to betray us.
But there was one person who shouldn’t have ever been betrayed. There was one person who was very wrongfully accused. And He was betrayed by Judas. I don’t think there is any doubt that we would all classify Judas as a wicked person who perverted the ways of justice.
But, we all must be careful not to accept a bribe. Just because Judas comes to mind, doesn’t mean that the only form of condemned bribery is that which leads to the death of the son of God. Any bribe received in secret to pervert the ways of justice is wicked.
Think of all the bribes that politicians receive. I know they’re not supposed to, but you can be sure that they are getting them. Think of all the backdoor agreements that have to take place in order to get anything done on Capital Hill. There is a ridiculous amount of wickedness that exists in the way government is run.
I can hear you now, there he goes, he’s going to start slamming the government. Some of you are applauding, others are about to stop reading. Before you do, understand that I am not criticizing any political party, instead I’m criticizing them all.
There is a severe problem when business as usual is deals that take place behind closed doors. When decisions cannot be made using logic and reasoning, but instead can only be reached by dollar signs and fatter wallets – there is something terribly wrong. We should be very concerned that our government has ceased to operate under the standards with which we were created and has now begun to operate solely in secret.
What is being said behind closed doors, the deals that are being made and the complete and utter perversion of justice should be a huge red flag to us. I don’t care which side of the aisle you’re on, which political party you align yourself with, which politician you voted for or which politician you hate, the fact the standard mode of operation is getting bribes in secret should be something that concerns us all greatly.
It’s no wonder nothing gets done, they’re all being wicked – even if they think they’re on the right team. This is a big problem. Judas is the norm now in government, that’s not good.
A cheerful heart brings good healing,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Have you been around those people who make you happy just because you’re around them? You know what I mean, the people who can cheer you up without trying to cheer you up. The people who bring the life out of you. The people who, just by talking, are able to lift your spirits? I know some people like that. I’ve always wanted to be someone like that. To be honest, I don’t know how they do it, or how they get there.
Life is hard, and it can be hard not to have a defeatist mentality. It can be hard, when you suffered blow after blow, to get up with a smile on your face. It can be hard, when you’ve tried with all your might and still you come up short. And when this happens a couple of times, the joy in your life can easily start to fade.
But, these people who lift our spirits, they go through stuff too. It’s not like they live in a vacuum and don’t have to experience struggle. They most certainly do. In fact, I would say that some of them have experience a great deal of heartache and pain.
So, it’s obviously not the struggle that keeps them down, because they’re not down. Sure, maybe they are down when no one is around. But, don’t you think you’d be able to tell if they were just putting on a show? Don’t you think you’d be able to see through the charade? I do.
On the flip-side, we’ve all been around those people that suck the life out of us. Literally. You can feel your hair turning gray when you’re with them. You hear the arthritis growing in your joints. Your muscles start to atrophy. Imagine how it must feel to be them? Imagine the depth of despair they must live with every day.
Let’s pause for just a minute and think about what is being brought out of these two kinds of hearts. A cheerful heart brings healing. A crushed spirit dries up the bones. You’ve seen it in people fighting illnesses. Someone comes in and encourages them, and their condition improves. Others come in and discourages them, and their condition worsens. The kind of person you are could actually bring healing to someone whose spirit has been crushed. Your cheerful heart could be the medicine the other person needs to conquer an illness or a struggle of some kind.
“A cheerful heart brings good healing.” What comes as a result of your heart? Are you bringing healing or sucking life?