the pursuit of wisdom (part 3)

Amid three portions of the Word dedicated to protecting a young man from the adultress (Proverbs 5-7,) Solomon seems to step away from that idea and sets aside a seemingly "random" section of proverbs entitled: "Practical Warnings." O take heed to his advice! (Proverbs 6:1-19)

There are a two simple things in this section that slap me across the face:

1. Be like an ant.
...Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise...(6-8)
Notice, first, the word used: "sluggard." Not "unemployed." Not "gamers." Not "leeches." Not "facebookers." Not "movie-gurus." And so, as we read the Word, we only read "sluggards" and we think, "Welp. That's not me! Verse 7...I'm so busy! All the time!" But, my guess is that the word "sluggard" encompasses all of those other words...and more.

This verse is a slap across my face, not because I consider myself a sluggard, but because I am one. Hours of my week are spent on facebook. Hours of my week are spent eating alone. Hours of my week are spent sleeping past my alarm and showing up late to class/work/etc. ("Hours" might be a slight exaggeration.) My point is this: it's SO easy to read the Word and think of your neighbor, and sibling, and coworker, and not yourself. I am a sluggard. And I must look to the ant as my example.

The second interesting thing about that verse, though, is the example: the ant. I laugh at this, because I am WAY bigger than an ant. I can squish an ant. No problem. I can kick over an ant hill. (In fact one time I did and they got me...anyways...) The point isn't the size or "greatness" of the ant. I don't really want to be like an ant in every respect. That would be lame. But, do look at the way the ant works. All of her time is spent working-investing in things that will benefit her in the long run. She has the big picture in mind while she works; she knows that winter is around the corner. O that I may be humble enough to learn from a small insect.

2. Don't argue just to argue.
...There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. (16-19)
Again, don't hastily remove yourself from "the list." Haughty eyes...just haughty eyes? "Well I don't even know how to have haughty I'm good..." Do you honestly think the problem is the shape of the eyes? Or could it be that pride might be the root issue? I am a proud person (and by the grace of God, fighting it,) though I don't think I've ever made "haughty eyes." God doesn't just hate haughty eyes...He hates pride. Be slow to defend yourself against the Word. Be humble, and (not to be seen and judged/applauded by others) admit that you are proud.

I don't want to write about each of those things: you get the point. (Plus, that would be too awesome of a blog post to even be a blog post!) But one of the things that I've learned a lot about, from experience, is the last in the list: "and one who sows discord among brothers." Sowing discord is very basically disagreeing just to disagree, destroying peace, or arguing just to argue. And God hates it.

This is a slap across my face. I must say, I like to argue. (I blame my experience in debate league for that.) But, by grace, I've come to the realization that arguing just to argue causes division (discord) that is stupid, tears apart friendships, makes people on edge with you just by virtue of your consistent, persistent, foolish argumentation. What am I accomplishing by arguing like a constant dripping? By sowing discord like Chinese torture? Nothing beneficial at all!

Of course, there will be some of you who read this and say, "It says not to argue! Well, that can't be right, we'll be indoctrinated by our culture and government and propaganda!" Don't be foolish. Read the Word. It says "among brothers." We are to resist the devil, to fight against flesh and blood, rulers and authorities of this dark world. But we are to live at peace with our brothers (ultimately, as far as it depends on you, with all people,) loving them, thinking of them above ourselves.

Of course, there will be some of you who read this and say, "Arguing is how I process my thoughts and respond to the propagation of lies in my world." Don't be foolish. Practice alone or in a setting where people are there to specifically coach/critique/help your argumentation. Don't sow discord among brothers, even if you're trying to strengthen yourself in your opposition of the enemy. You can accomplish that preparation elsewhere. Don't take yourself so seriously.

Of course, there will be some of you who say "I don't sow discord by arguing." Let me say, as one who sits on the objective outside, "You do." Don't be foolish. Stop arguing. Stop defending yourself and making doing so, you are sowing discord. Don't take yourself so seriously.

Of course, there will be some of you who will say "Every criticism/confrontation is, in a sense, a form of 'discord.' Therefore, I will be tolerant of all things and love all people regardless." Don't be foolish. Speak the truth in love. Pastors, in particular. Mark Driscoll preached a sermon that very boldly addressed the issue of how to relate the sheep (the brothers) the wolves (the enemy) the sheep (the hypocritical brothers) and the dogs (the brothers who sow discord.) Lend your ear, if you can find the time: click here to listen.

Don't be foolish. Get your face slapped. Go to the ant. Love the brothers.