How to be Wise, not Good

by Elouise

I grew up believing the Bible would teach me to be a good girl. The other option? Ignore the Bible and grow up to be a bad girl. I just needed to read the Bible, study it, and take it to heart. 

Maybe I’m trying to split a hair, but I don’t think being ‘good’ is the same as being ‘wise.’ Many ‘good’ girls grow up to be like fools. Not all the time, and not by choice. Sadly, they weren’t encouraged to learn the meaning of wisdom—not just as an idea, but as a way of life. 

Wisdom. How to have a moral backbone. How to make wise choices and live with them, no matter what others may think. How to stand up and tell the truth when others want you to sit down and shut up. How and when to decline invitations, and how to behave in situations loaded with surreptitious behavior, gossip, intimidation or false promises. 

My favorite wisdom book in the Bible is Proverbs. A book about how to be Wise and how not to be a Fool. All delivered one proverb at a time! One bite at a time. One situation at a time. One habit at a time. One encouragement at a time. Always delivered quickly and efficiently.

Here are some proverbs that invite me stop and think about myself. Not about other people who really need to read this proverb, but about the truth of my everyday life and behavior. I’ve used the Good News Bible translation because of its down-to-earth language. Do you recognize yourself in any of them? 

Proverbs 10:19 —
The more you talk, the more likely you are to sin.
If you are wise, you will keep quiet.
(And if you’re a fool, you’ll just keep talking….need I say more?)

 Proverbs 14:15 —
A fool will believe anything; smart people watch their step.

Proverbs 14:31 —
If you oppress poor people, you insult the God who made them;
but kindness shown to the poor is an act of worship.

 Proverbs 15:17 —
Better to eat vegetables with people you love
than to eat the finest meat where there is hate.

Proverbs 15:28 —
Good people think before they answer.
Evil people have a quick reply, but it causes trouble.

 Proverbs 15:32 —
If you refuse to learn, you are hurting yourself.
If you accept correction, you will become wiser.

Proverbs 16:19 —
It is better to be humble and stay poor
than to be one of the arrogant and get a share of their loot.

 Proverbs 16:28 —
Gossip is spread by wicked people;
they stir up trouble and break up friendships.

 Proverbs 17:1 —
Better to eat a dry crust of bread with peace of mind
than have a banquet in a house full of trouble.

Proverbs 26:22 —
Gossip is so tasty! How we love to swallow it!

 Praying you’ll have a good day, with multiple opportunities to practice wisdom and forsake folly.

 © Elouise Renich Fraser, 22 December 2016
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: 
Quotations from the Good News Bible, published by the American Bible Society 1992