“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair;” (Proverbs 1:1-3)
During the last few years, being a citizen of the land of the free and the home of the brave has included being in the land of the divisive, and for many of us, the homes of the disillusioned. I write my blog with the mission of illuminating how Jesus speaks to us in the midst of our hurting world. I believe being reminded of God’s presence equips us to live a life captivated by His love and goodness. The current American political discourse has made too many of us captive to hate and negativity.
Our Hope is in Jesus
Because I believe hope is only found in Jesus, I’ve avoided (for the most part), writing on the politics of our day. I don’t want my political opinions to draw away from the fact that there is no greater power than God’s love.
However, (you saw that coming, didn’t you?), recently I’ve been aware that the book of Proverbs is starkly being played out in newspaper headlines, TV commentaries and social media. Proverbs is a book that teaches how to attain wisdom.
It is prudent to keep a narrow focus when writing a blog, but as a believer, I never want to compartmentalize my faith. Christ is not just in me; He is all around me. So, here’s fair warning: today I’m going to delve into commentary on morality in politics.
A Life of Service
This past week an American hero died. Whether you agreed with his positions on policies or not, there is no denying the patriotic life of service lived by Senator John McCain. One would assume the noble status of this man couldn’t be ignored: a man who was held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam for over five years, went on to serve two terms in the US House of Representatives and as a US senator from 1987 until his death, humbly admitted failures during his service, helped spearhead campaign finance reform, was instrumental in restoring diplomatic relations with Vietnam(!) and was a close friend to political rivals.
Ah, but this is where the book of Proverbs comes into play.
Proverbs 15:12 “Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise”.
Proverbs 14:9 “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright”.
The main theme of the book of Proverbs is the nature of true wisdom. Knowledge (facts & information) is vastly different than wisdom (rightly applying those facts to how you live). We are in a time where knowledge is available at the tip of our fingers. But we sorely lack wisdom. As Solomon, the author of Proverbs, writes, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline”. The word proverb comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to rule or to govern”. To heal our land from its divisiveness we need to be wisely governed in word and deed.
Whether you agree with President Trump’s policies or not, there’s no denying he’s a mocker. One of his memorable moments of mocking was when he disparaged Senator McCain for being a POW. Due to their lack of respect for one another, Senator McCain and his family made it known President Trump would not be welcomed at the senator’s funeral. When Senator McCain passed away, President Trump appeared to be motivated by personal offense rather than humble respect and national pride. Instead of highlighting Senator McCain’s service to the country they both love(d), the President tweeted rote words of condolence to the McCain family. Our president missed a chance to set an example of goodwill. Our country is in desperate need of goodwill.
Haughty or Humble?
Getting to know God is the key to wisdom, but learning his ways is a blessing to people of any faith or no faith. Our country’s citizens and leaders need to return to a common knowledge of the book of Proverbs. We can begin with an awareness of the pitfalls of a haughty spirit. Haughtiness makes a god of oneself and separates us from one another. Humbleness brings us together.
As a nation and as individuals we need to take notice of these warnings:
Proverbs 14:6 “The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none”
Proverbs 18:12 “Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor”.
For those of us who follow Jesus as Lord of our lives, let’s consider whether we are supporting, participating, ignoring or justifying haughty behavior.
Proverbs 8:12-13 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil, I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech”
Count our Blessings
After a little introspection, let’s count our blessings.
How lovely it is — we still have people like John McCain to honor. How wonderful it is – God teaches us through Proverbs how we can live in close relationship with Him and with each other. How beautiful it is — God’s wisdom leads us to do what is right, just and fair.