Arrogant know-it-alls stir up discord, but wise men and women listen to each other’s counsel.
Proverbs 13: 10 The Message
Unique in the scriptures, Proverbs is a book which loves contrasts. The wise versus the foolish. The good versus the bad. The hard workers versus the lazy. The moral versus the immoral.
Here, the author speaks of those who are arrogant, and believe they know everything. Since they are so “wise” (at least in their own eyes), they have no need to listen to others. In their less-than-humble opinions, any kind of communication should be directed from them to others. “What could lesser beings offer to superior me?” seems to be their attitude! As the scripture states, they are likely to be the ones stirring up conflict, disagreements, and hostility. Not only can their insufferable behavior strain relationships, but the arrogant are usually unwilling to take guidance from others. They ardently resist any directions from others to help smooth things out.
Unfortunately, the world is filled with examples of people who thought they were too smart to listen to advice, and ended up making stupid decisions. Pride sank the Titanic as much as the iceberg did.
Men and women who are wise provide a stark contrast to the arrogant. They have usually achieved this wisdom by spending time with others, and by learning and listening to them. They do not think they have all the answers. Often, they are the first to admit they need help. The truth is that the wise end up being wise precisely because they are not in love with their own knowledge. They humbly adopt an attitude of continual learning. They seek out wise counsel before making major decisions. They end up with more data than the arrogant, and consequently end up making better decisions.
We are all born with different gifts, including intellectual abilities. Yet wisdom is different than raw brainpower. Nurturing a humble, cooperative attitude produces wisdom. When we use our gifts to help others, we know that we are following the Lord’s desires for our lives. This passage helps us to see relational wisdom. That is the realization that we all are so much wiser and stronger when we work together as a team. Remember, there is no “I” in the word “Team.”
We are in charge of our attitude, both toward God, and towards others. A humble, listening approach will end up getting us much farther than foolishly ignoring others because of our own arrogance.
God of all wisdom,
Our world is filled with people who are full of themselves. Let me not follow their arrogant example in my own life. Instead, teach me how to improve myself continually. Grant me the humility to learn from my sisters and brothers, for they have much to offer to me. Lead me to the wisest counsel, especially before I make major decisions. I pray this prayer in the name of Your son, my Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.