Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Becoming Truly Wise

“Some people are like the bottom half of a double boiler. They are always letting off a steam but they haven't a clue what's cooking.”

I was reminded of the above while reading the following: “A stupid person takes no pleasure in understanding; He would rather disclose what is in his heart.” (Proverbs 18:2) Those who do not know what a double boiler is, in its simplest form, it is one pot put on top of another. The bottom pot is filled with water that is brought to a boil. The top is used to evenly, gently, control heat and cook whatever is in it—typically used in confection cooking. To say that “some people” are like the bottom half of a double boiler, means they are over-opinionated, (perhaps even close-minded), clueless people.

But the cited Proverb goes one step further in exposing the reason people of that sort act as they do. It comes down to arrogant self-importance. The International Standard Version renders that verse: “A fool finds no satisfaction in trying to understand, for he would rather express his own opinion.” People of this sort think only their own opinion is correct and leave no room for discussion or even the possibility that others have something valuable to add or a clearer understanding.

What can aid such a person to mellow, mature? Learn to listen to others. There is a wise saying that “we have two ears and one mouth—this is why we should listen twice as much as we speak.” In a similar vein, Proverbs 1:5 says: “A wise person listens and takes in more instruction.” Yes, to be truly wise, we need to be willing to learn. Learning is a lifelong experience.

True Christians appreciate the value of learning. They do not feel threatened by those whose religious viewpoints differ. Instead, they use these encounters as a learning experience to build on the foundation of their beliefs. Such interchanges with others can either help refine their understanding or deepen their appreciation for what is right and true. Real Christians truly want to be like to top half of a double boiler, knowing what is cooking.

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