One Year Wisdom Challenge

Wisdom Is The God-Follower’s Fuel for Success-Part Two

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Wisdom Challenge #16

Imagine how different daily life might be if the world wasn’t dotted with so many meddlers, gossips, liars, and haters. And so many who are willing to listen to them. Or make excuses for them.

TV shows, magazines and other media focused on “celebrity gossip,” wouldn’t exist.

Lives, careers, reputations, friendships, and families would not be destroyed by false information, lies and innuendo.

Non-disclosure agreements would be unnecessary.

Racist probably wouldn’t be a word.

Riots would be unheard of, or rare.

Murder rates would drop, and prisons wouldn’t be overpopulated.

White-collar-crime rates would probably drop if greed wasn’t fueled by hatred.

With lower crime rates, home insurance rates would drop.

I could keep expanding the ripple effects of meddling, gossiping, lying and hating, way out, I think.  Last post we looked at two pieces in the Proverbs 26 gallery of “People Least Likely to Succeed.” “The Fool” and “The Sluggard,” do a fair amount of societal damage also, but this week we are looking at “The Meddler,” “The Liar,” “The Gossip,” and “The Hater.”  I encourage you again, not to race through this gallery. Instead, we need to stand by each picture and ask ourselves, “Do I see any of myself in there?”

The companion devotional for this series, “Our Children Deserve Better-Changing the World Through Godly Character, “is now available as a free download in the May section of the “Wisdom Challenge Resources” page on my website. Enjoy these stories of incredible people with characters we would do well to imitate.

The Meddler

Proverbs 26:17-19 creates a picture of someone motivated to mess around in other people’s lives. They are like a person who randomly grabs a stray dog by its ears.  It takes cunning and speed to accomplish that in the first place, and if you do, you stand a good chance of being chomped on by the dog. Meddling takes effort and time. Time that should be spent pursuing God’s destiny for you instead of entangling yourself with another’s problems.

As an Enneagram One, I know I’ve meddled in stuff I shouldn’t have by trying to right all wrongs, as we One’s want to do. Makes me wonder what I was supposed to be doing instead with that brain space and time. Sigh.

The Liar

There’s quite a few Proverbs about liars, but this one is an interesting picture.  Notice the innocent look. This is the person who lies, and when caught claims, “I was just joking.” Right. Funny how stories disappear or change once accountability comes knocking at a liar’s door.  Damage is done to a liar’s reputation every time this scam is pulled. Credibility and respect are lost. Certain doors are closed to liars.

Sometimes I have lied by exaggeration. I’ve wanted to make my point stronger, so facts are “expanded” to make my case. That’s lying. It is. A few times when I was fact checked, I said something lame like, “Well, I may have exaggerated….” Yup, lying.  I haven’t done that in many years, but I’ll bet my reputation is still damaged in some folks minds.

The Gossip

Everyone has been one of the three subjects in this piece as a victim of gossip or a super-spreader. I’ve always wondered if this was one of the sins James was thinking about when he launches on the tongue in James 3.  “The tongue is a flame of fire….set on fire by hell itself.” (verse 6) It’s the same picture Proverbs uses in 26:20-22.

Gossip, in is like a cabbage-sized, raised, pecan cinnamon roll.  Tasty on the tongue but so damaging to the body. It’s easy to say “Yes,” to gossip without meaning to. Someone starts it in a conversation, and you must make a choice. One is silence, which the gossip will take as agreement. Another is fueling the fire with more gossip because you have been curious about so and so and such and such, you can’t resist getting the dish. The last option is the hardest and most awkward. Stopping the gossip. “I’m sorry. I don’t think I should hear this,” or something similar to get them to zip it. Problem is, we are more worried about offending the gossip than defending their victim. Gossips gain poor reputations, just like liars and meddlers.

The Hater

In this portrait we see God’s view of someone who hates. Verses 23-28 in chapter 26 say that a hater might talk sweetly to you, deceive you into thinking they are nice, when all the time they are murdering you in their hearts and minds. In 1 John 3:15, the apostle says it bluntly. Haters are murderers from God’s vantage point. I found the Amplified version especially startling. Everyone who hates (works against) his brother [in Christ] is [at heart] a murderer [by God’s standards]; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. Yikes.

Many years ago, I became entangled with hatred and unforgiveness for people who wronged my family. The damage it did to my soul and my intimacy with God was awful, but it took me years to see it. Please, take some time with this portrait and make sure you see none of yourself in it.

The true body of Christ, the ecclesia, will need tremendous wisdom and character in the days ahead. I am certain that our country and world will be experiencing paradigm and societal shifts unlike anything before in history. People will be frightened, confused, and angry. Are we grounded in wisdom enough not to be caught up in that vortex?

I’m not certain I possess all the wisdom and godly character qualities to handle everything and everyone God may bring into my life, but I’m allowing him to do his work in me like never before. I’m determined not to be left out or caught flat-footed for kingdom assignments. There’s a harvest of souls coming. Are we ready to reap and process?

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