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The wisdom of Solomon, when arguments go frump in the night

• What if I’m doing all this work and he doesn’t notice?

11:18 — “The wicked worketh a deceitful work; but to Him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward (KJV).”

Bad people try to hide what they do and the good we do often gets over looked, even by those that love us. This isn’t news. But think of this. Solomon suggests that if I were to hide my good works the way a thief tries to his his loot, my good deeds don’t stay hidden. They are sown, like hiding seeds in the ground. After a while, they sprout up and reveal themselves for all to see, whether we say something or not.

• All she does is criticize!

12:1 — “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge, but he that hateth reproof is brutish (KJV).”

To love being taught means something far different than just sitting in a classroom while a teacher tells us where Brazil is. Solomon says that knowledge can only come when we are willing to be corrected or disciplined. That is the broader meaning of the term “instruction” here. And we must “love” it, even when it hurts. So the question to answer in an argument is not whether we are criticized, but is the criticism on the mark or not? We are in danger when we resent being told we are wrong and fail to listen, we risk becoming “brutish.” The Hebrew word suggests an animal, like a cow, happily eating grass but it has no idea where hamburgers and leather purses come from.

• I don’t want to say something I will regret later!

13:10 — “The only effect of pride is fighting; but wisdom is with the quiet in spirit.”

The Hebrew word for pride comes from a root word that means to “seethe” or “boil up” (BDB). Given this picture, it is easy to see how pride can end in conflict. Even though many think this kind of process is the way to get their voices heard, Solomon argues that the only thing it causes is fighting. The “quiet in spirit” is better described as someone who is “well advised” or who “receives council,” perhaps from many sources. So the answer to that rage is not to bottle it, but to express it in a way that is wise, even if it means getting some advice on how to say it. This allows the steam to drive the train and not just blow the whistle.

• They just don’t listen to me!

15:23 — “A man has joy in the answer of his mouth: and a word at the right time, (or a word in due season, KJV) how good it is!”

Imagine a farmer throwing seeds on frozen ground. He looks at it and says, “This doesn’t work, I’ll wait until the ground is softer.”

Sometimes there is a “right time” or a “word in due season” for what we need to say.

Perhaps this refers to a change in the climate of a problem, when the passions are less and the issues are clearer. Or there may be a time when the results of a choice or a belief are now glaring. The words then make sense to the hearer. The best reasons in the world may not be enough to convince someone else until that right time is there. It’s the waiting that’s the hard part. Solomon argues that the strain in waiting for the season to change is made easier by joy that is to come. And then, it might only require a single word.

“Want To Be Wise? Applying the Wisdom Of Solomon To the Modern Issues We All Face,” by Jeff Smith, is available through Wine Press Publishers and Amazon.com.

Jeff’s blog is www.want2Bwise.blogspot.com.

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