Tag Archives: relationships

The Wisdom to Know the Difference

Growing up I confused wisdom and knowledge.   My grades were always at the top of the class. I loved the attention teachers and pastors gave me when I had the right answer.  I knew everything and I knew I was RIGHT.  But I was clueless in how this attention caused classmates to resent me.   I was not wise in how to keep friendships thriving.

7K0A0478In the Niebuhr’s Serenity prayer a key petition is to have the wisdom to know what can and what cannot be changed.  This is particularly true in human relationships.  I might desire my spouse, child or co-worker to change in some way, but I cannot make them change.  What I can change is how I interact with them.  I can choose to have the serenity to listen carefully to what the other is expressing.  I can have the courage to “speak my mind” or “to hold my tongue” depending on the context.    I will need wisdom in each situation in what I say or how I act.

IMG_3289I confess that at times I am unwise in my desire to be right.  I think I have the right perspective and the other person must be wrong.   And if I simply repeat myself enough time with varying intensity of voice, the other person will finally hear my perspective and agree.   I KNOW I am right, but I am not WISE in how I interact. Really, at time I can be clueless.

Jesus had the wisdom to know the difference.  He had the courage to confront the self-righteous Pharisees, but the tender compassion to heal a man on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-6).

Slowly I am learning to let go of my need to be right.   I think the stronger, wiser course is to learn how to love the other, to listen and to be present to the other.  Wisdom grows one day at a time.

What kind of wisdom do you seek?

Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom to know how to act in love.