Have you ever used the phrase….if only I had known then what I know now? Although I wouldn’t change much about my life, I often think of how things might have been different in my younger days, if I had just had some of the wisdom that I now possess (of course, some would question whether I possess such wisdom). The life lessons I have struggled through have left indelible marks on both me and others. If only I could have had a better roadmap for this life, something that could have given me guidance when I needed it most. Fortunately for us, the timeless wisdom of Solomon is available for all to read. His words from ages ago still provide an amazing framework from which we can draw knowledge and avoid some of the many pitfalls that can litter our lives.
I’m struck in Chapter 15, as well as in other chapters, by the simplicity of Solomon’s message. In 15:1 he reminds us:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
How many times have you replayed a recent argument in your head and determined that your angry, emotional words actually led to the escalation of a situation. Have you ever been engaged in an argument, only to concede your wrongdoing, and then get to watch the other person’s whole demeanor change? If not, try it sometime, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the reaction.
In the second half of Chapter 15, Solomon encourages us to…
seek counsel (15:22)
think before speaking (15:28)
to truly listen to corrective rebuke in order to gain wisdom (15:31)
I must admit I am a lifelong failure at all three. My pride has distorted my thinking to believe that I can take this journey alone, without God and without any wise counsel from friends and family. I have spoken out of turn many times, hurt feelings more than I care to mention, and most certainly caused irreparable damage in relationships. I have also chosen to shun wise criticism because I felt I knew better; if only I could have followed the amazing life roadmap that God so long ago provided to us through Solomon.
What knowledge from Chapter 15 could have been a game-changer for you?
Give an example of how following this roadmap has impacted your life.