What are you looking for?

Proverbs 21:21

He who pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness, and honor.

You find what you look for. Want righteousness? Pursue it and you’ll get it. Along with life and honor.

We’re all looking for something. Even when we don’t realize it. You find what you look for. Do you have a mundane fruitless life? Maybe you are passively reacting to life instead of intentionally pursuing the things of God.

We all do it. Allow life to happen to us. But when you let someone else row your boat, they are going to take it where they want to go, not where you want to go.

Do you have a life filled with discontentment and regrets? Maybe you found what you didn’t realize you were looking for. It’s not too late to change. Accept this ancient wisdom and pursue righteousness.

God will help you find it. And along the way, you’ll find some other great things too.

Squabbles

Proverbs 20:3

Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel.

Any fool will quarrel.

Seems like today EVERY fool does quarrel. If you can still manage to stomach Facebook these days then you know that fools bicker every day about pretty much anything.

Even thousands of years ago, Solomon recognized the lack of wisdom in petty squabbles.

Fools quibble over literally everything. Now that pretty much everyone has a voice via social media, the squabbling is relentless. Know a person that’s arguing in every feud they see? Then you know a fool.

Don’t get involved in meaningless feuds. Want to to be a wise, honorable person?

Keep away from strife.

Hasty

Proverbs 19:2

Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way. 

Do you remember the Women’s March that happened across the country when President Trump was elected?

I remember something from the news coverage I saw that has a stuck with me to this day. I saw a video online of a news reporter interviewing one of the lady protestors. The reporter’s question: “What are YOU marching for today?”

Protestor’s response: Looks slightly confused and fumbles through saying “We do not like what’s going on!”

The reporter wisely ended the interview prematurely. Everyone could tell that here was a passsionate, convicted, angry woman who had no earthly idea why she was passionate, convicted, and angry. She didn’t know why she was marching. But all her friends were and her knee jerk reaction to Trump was one of dislike. Based on a few of the other interviews I saw, she was not the only one in this position.

Desire, passion, conviction, without knowledge is not good. I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that most of the people who march against things these days don’t really know why.

But they have desire and hasty feet.

What saddens me is that they will miss their way. Some of these marches are for good and righteous things but hasty people ruin the impact they could have.

Delightful Understanding

Proverbs 18:2

A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind.

Think back to the last time you intently listened to someone to gain understanding into what they were saying.

Now think back to the last time you spoke your mind.

If you’re anything like me it’s much harder to come up with examples of good listening than it is to think of all the times I’ve spoke my mind. This is foolish.

What’s easier? Intently listening to understand or speaking your own mind?

Obviously, speaking your own mind is easier. I know it is for me. I already know (at least I think I do) what’s going on in my head and I feel entitled to say it. If I’m being honest, most of the time when I’m “listening” to someone, it’s really just me waiting for their mouth to stop moving so that I can speak my piece.

This is the easy way out. Fools, nitwits, stooges, dopes, and lamebrains all take the easy way. Why? Because it’s easy, duh.

Truly understanding something and someone is hard. It takes serious discipline and wisdom. But it’s worth the work. Once you fully understand someone or something you’ll totally agree.

Understanding feels good. Delightful, even.

Silent Fools

Proverbs 17:28

Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.

It is a mathematical fact that those with nothing to say talk the most.

I’ve interacted with people or seen people on tv being interviewed and after they are done talking, they’ve said nothing. There’s been times when I have just finished talking with someone and cannot for the life of me remember what they said. This is not just because I have not been a great listener. Which is true but I’m getting better. Anyway, I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences.

So much talking seems to happen today. Social media has given anyone that wants a voice the opportunity to speak publicly. Some of these people should keep their mouths shut. I’m including myself in this category from time to time.

What people don’t always seem do realize is that pointless babble points out your foolishness. For the most part, humans aren’t stupid. We recognize when someone is saying or posting something that doesn’t make any reasonable sense but the poster thinks it’s genius.

Imagine the biggest fool in the world. A certain controversial subject comes up and for whatever reason the world’s greatest fool says nothing. One the other hand, imagine some who is only slightly foolish starts saying all kinds of illogical, idiotic things about a subject. Who seems to be the bigger fool?

Have you ever felt like people aren’t taking you seriously? Maybe what’s coming out of your mouth and/or keyboard is foolish.

Silencing both might help you out.

Get Angry?

Proverbs 16:32

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

Slow to anger. That’s not something I see on a regular basis. The opposite is truer than ever right now. Say something on social media or tv that the masses don’t approve of and you will be instantly harpooned.

Most do not have any control over their anger or spirit. This is as true as the sky is blue. Yesterday on the elliptical at the gym I was captive to the news channel. I don’t even know which one. Fortunately, I couldn’t hear anything. But the few times I glanced at the TV, all I could see were out of control people tearing down statues and yelling at cops.

Honestly, I don’t know (or care) that much about what’s going on but I is easy to see is that none of these people are slow to anger or have any semblance of control over their spirits. They probably think that they are so strong and powerful. But look at what wisdom says:

Being slow to anger makes you better than the mighty. Mightier than mighty.

Having control over your spirit, makes you better than a city capturer.

It looked like these foolish protestors were trying to capture a city. Just from what I saw, rednecks and hipsters seemed to finally band together to tear down a statue. None of this protesting is a display of power. Whether it comes from idiot rednecks or angry blacks.

Want to be mightier than mighty? Look at the example of Martin Luther King Jr. He had actual reasons to be infuriated. He was truly abused and marginalized. But did MLK endorse violent rioting in the street? The exact opposite.

He controlled his spirit. He displayed mastery over his justified anger. He made dramatic change through peace and self-control.

True strength, true wisdom, true power, comes from self control.

Broken Straws

Proverbs 15:4

A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.

Several months ago, my wife and I were at one of our favorite restaurants to get an afternoon snack and some iced tea. When you live in Phoenix, iced beverages are necessary to surviving the summer.

Apparently a mother and her 3-4 year old daughter had the same idea as us and sat in the booth directly behind me. What happened next disturbed and upset us both. Because of our seating arrangement, my wife was able to see what happened but I could only listen.

I open straws by ripping off the one end of the paper and pulling off the other end. My wife, on the other hand, is a table tapper. She taps the straw on the table or counter until it pops through the paper. The little daughter at the table next to us was a table tapper. Now table tappers run the risk of accidentally splitting their straw and rendering it useless. Unfortunately for this little girl, this is exactly what happened.

The mother’s response was disgusting. She spoke in a slightly raised tone but I could tell just by listening that her attention was split between her daughter and looking at her phone. She said something very close to this: “OH. MY. GAWD. I’m so disappointed. I cannot believe that you did this. Like, I’m just so, ahhh, disappointed. Like seriously? Why?”  It continued like this for another sentence or two until it got to the point where if she kept going, I was going to turn around and intervene but the mother stopped.

This mother communicated extreme disappointed, displeasure, and flat out scorn toward her 3 or 4 year old daughter.

She crushed her spirit.

Over a broken straw.

She had the opportunity to speak soothing, life giving words to this precious little one but instead she chose to crush her daughter’s spirit. What do you think is going to happen when this little girl is not so little and makes an actual mistake? I know what she probably won’t do: come to her mother. And her mother will probably feel so crushed and hurt and won’t understand why her daughter is so mean and doesn’t love her and won’t confide in her. I hope none of this does happen but if it does, it’s because the mother taught her daughter that simple, stupid things disappoint her so much that it’s not safe for the daughter to come to her with an actual problem.

Your tongue is your most powerful weapon. It can create or destroy. Be a life-giving tree or a perverted soul crusher. Pay attention to your words.

ESPECIALLY for the little ones in your life.