On Sunday Stewart talked about Proverbs, a part of the Bible that can be referred to as wisdom literature. He explored a thought that there are different Proverbs which cover different types of thinking and circumstances. He observed there were conservative conclusions to wisdom, in the sense of a defined, clear, ordered and known definition of the word. If you are a more conservative thinker, you would read them and think ‘Yes, See! This is true’’. Further along however, Proverbs is more liberal, in the sense of open, exploring and not overly set out and planned. Reading these Proverbs as a more liberal thinker you might think “Yes! See! This is true”.
This comparison really struck me. The previous day I had attended some professional development for Counselling, in which we looked at a concept that is known as the wise mind. This concept basically says that there is a balance between our rational mind, the part of us that see things very logically, and the feeling mind, the part of us that experiences the world in the moment and viscerally. Both parts provide valid explanations of how we think about ourselves and experience the world around us, but until we balance the two we cannot find the wise mind.
I had a mentor in my early 20’s that always astounded me because he would always ask the right questions to help me find the answers I was looking for. Upon reflection, he would quite often ask me a question that would bypass my rational mind and ask me where I was in my internal feeling world. He would then steer me back by asking questions about my rational thinking in the particular situation I was dealing with.
I remember a situation I found challenging, in which I thought I deserved more consideration for a job I was going for. I had spent a week mulling it over and talking to people about it, and I had come to the conclusion that I was indeed treated differently to other applicants. I was hesitant to bring my concerns to two of the people involved however, as I respected them highly and I worried that I could be wrong, or they could get upset with me. As I explored this with my mentor at the time, he asked me how I would feel in six-months’ time if I didn’t take the chance to bring it up and resolve it. I quickly realized that I would be really frustrated with myself if I didn’t say something. My mentor noted that I had thought it through comprehensively, so dwelling on it further would probably just be overthinking it. So I went ahead and discussed it with the relevant people and it went mostly well. I can certainly look back on the incident and know that I am very happy that I did it.
Proverbs Chapter 1 states that fools’ despise wisdom and it seems clear to me that despising wisdom describes the problem of not questioning our own bias, putting our own thoughts and feelings before God’s wisdom and dismissing what we might find uncomfortable. I know I’m guilty of that. It isn’t pleasant to challenge my own thinking at times, but over this series I’m keen to open up and think about the areas where I might have biased views or assumptions and need to challenge myself to think differently. Not necessarily to change everything, but to at least test it against God’s wisdom.