Godly wisdom should differentiate the people of God from the world. One of the components of Godly wisdom is having understanding according to the below passage.
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
4 To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion—
5 A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:1-7
According to the above passage in verse 2, we need understanding to have wisdom. Understanding is not just hearing what someone says, but it is about making the effort to perceive their viewpoint.
How do we develop wisdom through understanding?
We need to have a desire to gain God’s heart about His word. We gain understanding when we seek God’s perspective through His word rather than misusing a verse out of context to support our own views. God’s vision is so much greater than our limited understanding, and we should keep ourselves in a position that we have ears to hear what the Lord is speaking to us.
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20
We also need to develop understanding towards others. This requires us to develop better listening skills. In our current cultural climate, we are in poverty of understanding. People have a greater desire to speak rather than hearing others. Interestingly, you hear many people complaining about being misunderstood. Is it possible that we have developed a culture that just wants to talk at each other rather a desire to understand and be understood!?
Understanding others is like listening to someone who speaks a foreign language. When I first came to the US, I had to learn to understand English speaking people. I had learned English in the classroom as a teenager, but I was not used to hearing anyone speak English fluently. When my U.S. history teacher spoke, I did not understand his lecture neither was I familiar with U.S. history. So I had to give my complete attention to everything he stated and take a lot of notes. Sadly, my notes, many times, did not help me because I had transcribed his sentences as a giant word on paper and could did not make any sense of them later. The point is that I had to listen intently to understand what the teacher stated and then fill in the gap by reading the textbook and having a dictionary by my side.
Similarly, if we truly want to make the effort to understand others, we need to slow down and cut off all distractions. We need to zero in on what the other person is saying and don’t even think about forming an opinion or preparing a rebuttal. We need to put aside our own ideas and pay close attention to what is communicated. Then we can respond appropriately if needed.
If we truly want to love our neighbor as ourselves, we need to hear what they have to say without cutting them off or labeling them. We need to let go of our defensiveness and our own views and pay close attention to their perspective. It does not mean that we have to agree with everything others are saying, but we should respect them enough to hear their viewpoint.
Furthermore, the above scripture in James has a warning for us. When we are not quick to listen but swift to speak, we are in a greater danger of misunderstanding others and causing wrath. Wrath causes strife, offense, and division most of which could have been eliminated had we made the decision to understand first. Furthermore, this type of communication does not bear any good fruit nor any form of righteousness that would please God.
How well do you listen to others when they speak? Do you make the effort to put yourself in others’ shoes or are you ready with a rebuttal as soon as someone is finished? Do your conversations produce strife and anger in your heart and in other’ hearts? Or do they bring peace, calmness, and mutual understanding?
Gerd Altmann- Pixabay