“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” Proverbs 12:15 NASB
Like most teenagers, I had my rebellious moments with my parents. For some reason I earned a doctorate in pushing my dad’s buttons. It was not like I wanted to provoke my dad, I was just really good at it. One day after several months of tension and anxiety, my dad calmly sat me down and asked me if I wanted to be wise. “Of course, I want to be smart,” I blurted. My father smiled like a fox who was about to trap its prey.
He then replied, “I didn’t ask if you wanted to be smart, because I know you are. I asked, if you wanted to be wise. Do you want wisdom?”
“What is the difference,” I asked?
My dad then read this verse.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” James 3:17 NASB
He then asked, “Does this represent you?”
That wise fox! He got me. My dad loves wisdom. He knew how to cherish it wisely. His questions were piercing my heart, leaving me with no ground to argue.
“How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding.” Proverbs 3:13 NASB
Our behavior towards others needs to contain the attributes of seeking righteousness, seeking peace, being gentle, and being reasonable, Christians need to show mercy. We also need to be unwavering in truth, without hypocrisy. Our truth is bound in the knowledge of scripture. In that knowledge we must live out our lives without the hypocrisy of indulging in worldly behavior. We don’t run from Godly wisdom, we run towards it.
“When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2 NASB
So often in life we don’t want to be corrected, we accuse people of judging us, rather than seeking the wisdom of Godly correction. The Christian, who seeks God, must run towards correction and wisdom. The foolish person hates correction and wisdom. They falsely reject it as judgmental harshness.
“Through insolence comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.” Proverbs 13:10 NASB
There is a difference between judging and correcting. Correction is wisdom based on experiences or knowledge. It is done in the hope that positive change will be made. Correction is encouraging a change in behavior that is sinful in the eyes of God. A wise person will take correction, reflect on the council they received and go to God with a humble and repentant heart.
“Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:21 NASB
As Christians we are not to judge the value of someone. We are never to judge someones salvation. For God values us all and He is the one who judges the heart. We judge behavior that goes against God, but we love the person. We do this in remembrance of our own sinful past. We are all sinners. It is only because of Jesus that a person is saved from their sins.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NASB
So what is our role? Our role is to be an ambassador. We are ambassadors of reconciliation. Since we have been reconciled to God through Jesus, we have a duty to bring the ministry of reconciliation to the world. We are to appeal to the hearts of the lost with love and gentleness, as Christ did for us. We make this appeal using wisdom, mercy, grace, and peace. There is no room for harshness, only love.
“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 NASB
Be an ambassador, let the proof of your faith shine with Christ.