Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 12:12 – “You Do Look Fat In Those Jeans”

The wicked desire the plunder of evil men,

but the root of the righteous flourishes.

Proverbs 12:12

There are sometimes in life when you need brutal honesty.

Now, you don’t just give anyone this license.  It has to be the kind of person that you respect and trust enough to give free reign to tell you things you need to hear but don’t want to hear.  Such as

  • “Those jeans do make you look fat.”
  •  “I’m not sure that is the best job for you.”
  • “The 80’s called and they want their puffy bangs back.”

Unfortunately, very few of us have a person like this in our in our life to let tell us these things.  In other cases it may be that we are too sensitive to receive this kind of direction.  Either way, I believe we all need this kind of person and deep down WANT this person in our life.

I know for me, if I don’t have a voice of reason in my life the voice of justification that goes on in my head for why I do what I do is really loud.  There needs to be a balancing voice to the scale of our life or we will never really grow.  We will never become wiser.

Solomon reminds of this very quickly in Proverbs 12.  See if you can tell where he lands on this topic.

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,

 but he who hates correction is stupid.”

Proverbs 12:1

Wow Solomon!  Tell us how you really feel.

The reason that Solomon is so emphatic about being open to correction in our lives he knows that this is how we gain wisdom.  By allowing someone to speak into our life, we are saying:

  • I know that I’m not perfect and I want to improve.
  • I acknowledge there are other perspectives and I want to hear yours.
  • I desire to know the truth and if your wisdom is truthful I’d like to hear it.

Solomon is very specific about whom we should listen to and whom we should not.  It does us no good to waste our time on voices that leave us feeling emptier than when we began talking with them.

He cautions us to avoid wicked people who are out for cruelty, blood, power, and personal gain.  Avoid people that are notorious for lying, cheating, laziness, and have troublesome lives.  These are people who need to be seeking wisdom themselves not for us to seek wisdom from.  People like this need to promote their foolish lives in order to justify it to them and so they will present their way of living as wise.  Don’t be fooled by fools.

The wicked desire the plunder of evil men,

but the root of the righteous flourishes.

Proverbs 12:12

In stark contrast to these ill intending voices is what Solomon calls “the righteous”.  These are people who we need to lean into more when they speak.  We should be sponges and absorb anything that they are willing to share with us because it will certainly let us gain wisdom.

The reason these people deserve our attention is because of the fruit of their lives.  Solomon describes them as firmly planted, just, heroic, caring, hard working, flourishing, avoid trouble, quick to forgive, truthful, joyful, peacemaker, selective of friends, and full of life.

If we could see a “life description” of every person we met and stumbled on a person with this list of attributes, we would be insane not to buy them dinner, get a pen and notebook, and start sopping up anything they are willing to share with us.

Although we can’t see people’s life descriptions like a necklace around their neck, we can be observant and discerning about the people’s lives’ with which we do interact.  Here are a couple things to ask yourself when analyzing people’s lives.

  • Is the fruit from their life righteous or a little shady?
  • In general, are the words they speak uplifting or knocking down?
  • Does conflict surround them or is their peace?
  • Are they the life of the party or are they selective in who they associate?

This list could go on forever, but the key is that we need to be attuning to people around us whose lives we respect and wisdom is pouring out of.  To be clear, being wise is not about how much money a person makes or whom they know in the community.  Wise people are ones whose wisdom goes to the very marrow of who they are not just their business abilities.

As Christians, we need to be looking for men and women that are modeling wisdom.  We must be willing to open ourselves up to correction and direction from people we trust so that we don’t stay the same as we are right now. God never intended for that to be the plan for our lives.

By learning from the wise, as Solomon says, we know that it will pay off because “in the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.”

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