Thursday, October 7, 2010

Companion of Fools, or Walking with the Wise?

Proverbs 13:20  Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

This is such an obvious truth that it almost goes without saying.  However, sometimes we need reminding of the the obvious because we lack the attention to focus on it or we lack the will to keep to it if left to ourselves.

So here is your reminder, and an encouragement if you lack the will power to do what you know is best!

A Reminder
Take a look at the people that you spend the most of your time with.  Would they be considered wise or foolish by someone you know as definitely wise.  You know that someone is wise by the decisions they make.  They are not impulsive, but think about decisions before making them.  They don’t talk about nonsense from sun up to sun down, but keep quiet and listen before giving a bit of thoughtful advice or input to the conversation.  Someone wise tends to build you up and make you feel energised and mentally “switched on” though they can be a challenge to your mental energy if you don’t have a lot of patience to think through things yourself.

Someone foolish will make poor decisions, their life will seem very messy because of this, and they may not even be able to recognise that it is their own lack of personal discipline that is the cause of this messiness.

Remember that not everything is black and white in this.  You might find that your friends are a mixed bag and that one of them could make some wise decisions and some foolish.  When it comes to relationships there are a lot of wise people that have been led astray because they are so desperate for love, or to fit in with the crowd who all seem to be deeply involved with the love of their life in perfect relationships.

Perhaps you should consider yourself.  Are you wise, or are you a fool?  Should people keep company with you?  Are you someone who will build positive things into someone else’s life?

Keep company with those who you know are wise, and if you must spend time with fools then make sure you are the wise person who is teaching your foolish friends.

An Encouragement
After you’ve considered your friends and you find yourself as one who has a lot of foolishness around you, what do you do?  Begin by pointing our your own foolishness and start to make wise decisions yourself.  Your foolish friends will either become less foolish, or they will push you away because they don’t want to change.  Both are acceptable outcomes for yourself, though it is obviously a very sad thing for you to be rejected.  If you do get rejected, remember that it is fools that are rejecting you, and take heart at that.  It will only be a matter of time before you make friends with wise people also, especially if you are switched on to considering whether someone you meet is wise or not.

Where can you get wisdom, to notice your own foolishness and make changes?  Look at people close to you who you know are happy and joyful, but not just on the surface.  Their life should be happy right down to the nitty gritty.  If you see someone who can clean a toilet with a smile and walk away with a bounce in their step, you know that they have wisdom to offer.  If you are more inclined to read, you could look at wisdom literature in the Bible.  Proverbs for example.  You could also find wise advice through the Internet, but you have to be pretty wise to notice if you are being fed rubbish advice, so that can be dangerous if you are not careful.

As long as you have the desire to be wise, you will do okay and you will tend to keep company with wise people.  Just remember that the first step to becoming truly wise is to know that you can never be the ultimate source of wisdom.  To become wise, you must see that it is dangerous to be wise in your own eyes, and that you must begin by adopting the established wisdom of an ultimate authority who is never wrong and is eternally wise because he has knowledge of everything.  If you don’t understand that, then here is the ultimate fool’s guide to becoming wise:

Read the bible and don’t stop until you are sure that you know where ultimate wisdom lies!