It's no secret to those who know me personally that I like to be right; who doesn't, honestly? As a child, the most common pet names I received were "Know-It-All" and "Bossy," so you can imagine my personal struggle with self-righteousness in communication. Today, we are surrounded by a Know-It-All culture. Every T.V. channel, every social media post, every self-help book claims to have all the answers and its true, somewhat. We know more now as a collective society than we ever have in the history of the world.
What we don't KNOW, the answer we are still so often lacking, is WISDOM.
There is a huge difference between knowledge and wisdom. In fact, the bible cautions us in using our head knowledge because it is detrimental when spouted without the wisdom of the Holy Spirit attached to the intent of our words. Proverbs 12:15 says "the way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice." It does not say the fools didn't have knowledge, and they even believed their own words to be right! But, the wisdom is in listening, not speaking.
"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic." James 3:13-15
What does this instruction mean for us as Christians? It means that we cannot expect to be both self-righteous in our speech, in our Facebook posts, in our personal relationships, and maintain the peaceable ear of our audience. You might be right, the facts may line up in logical direction, and still it will probably not accomplish a single thing in your communication if it is not spoken in wisdom.
Does this mean we stop preaching the gospel, teaching the narrative of Christ to our children, or stop inviting our friends to learn the precepts of God? Of course not.
However, it does mean that our evangelical approach should be first rooted in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and include every good fruit that accompanies it. It means that sometimes "I don't know," or "I'm sorry you have experienced that," are the best possible responses in a situation that demands answers.
The only truth higher than facts, the only true righteousness for our world of flesh is Jesus.
In His Love,
Ari Barrett is a wife to a nerdy stud named Joseph, a mama to 3 rowdy kids (sometimes confused with goats, understandably), and a lover of words and yarn. More importantly, she's a daughter of the Most High, and she believes that women are being called to create an atmosphere of worship in their homes and relationships.