It’s impossible to read the Book of Proverbs and walk away without the word “wisdom” standing out in our hearts and minds. Without a doubt, wisdom — defined as the “ability to discern inner qualities and relationships” — is at the very core of all of Solomon’s writings.
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And as we navigate a tattered social structure that has everyone divided and jumping at one another, there are plenty of truths in Proverbs that should sustain and convict us.
Two of these elements stand out in Proverbs 24, especially as millions of Americans soon plan to go to the polls and vote for their chosen candidates. Listen (and read) below:
First, there’s Proverbs 24:17-18, which reads:
“Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them.”
We live in a culture where winning and losing — especially in the political realm — sparks all sorts of unhealthy reactions, yet we’re called to win and lose with grace.
So, rather than gloating and attacking others (whether it be in simple games or politics), have enough self-respect and kindness to not rub peoples’ faces in their losses.
Sadly, there’s too often a failure to remember the lessons most of us were taught in elementary school: do unto others as you’d have them do unto you (coincidentally, this is the Bible’s golden rule, as presented in Matthew 7:12).
Yet Proverbs 24:28-29 tells us that revenge and payback aren’t biblical:
“Do not testify against your neighbor without cause—would you use your lips to mislead? Do not say, ‘I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.’”
These wise words are sometimes hard to live by.
We’re human and thus prone to emotional whims. But we’re called to be better. Seeing wisdom through prayer is the best way to allow our hearts to be transformed, and to avoid all sorts of unhealthy reactions.
So, as you prepare to head to the polls, remember: people who disagree with you are human just like you. No matter what happens, handle the results with grace and kindness.
And while you’re interacting on social media, don’t try to “get back” at those who attack you. Let’s be better.
I’ll leave you with some other powerful verses in Proverbs 24 that focus on wisdom:
“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” -Proverbs 24:3-4
“The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.” -Proverbs 24:5-6
“Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” -Proverbs 24:13-14