One of the most important things to ask God for is “wisdom” but there is also a need for “understanding”, which actually comes up more often in the following Proverb.
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
Is there a difference between the two words? At first, I didn’t think there was, but in recent weeks, I’ve been thrust into many situations which made me wonder a bit more.
Wisdom allows us to discern the workings of processes and relationships out there, letting us know the difference between right and wrong, left and right.
Understanding takes it one step further, and letting us weigh the consequences of our actions with relation to the things we have discerned. It forms the morality bit of us, making us question the value of right vs wrong, left vs right.
Recently, I’ve been dealing with people I’d never thought I would have to, or talking in new ways to old acquaintances.
Talking to them is a real eye-opener. The canvas has suddenly expanded a hundred-fold, and I’m smaller than ever before in this picture. I can see their frustrations, their grief at things left undone, and things that could be made better.
But who decides what is better and what is worse?
What happens when we know what needs to be done is deliberately ignored? How do we know then, that what needs to be done is indeed what needs to be done?
One example cropped up when I spoke to my old form teacher. She raised the point that students these days have breached the line and give teachers grief that the latter cannot deal with.
“Why is that so?” I asked. “Is it because the students are unruly, or simply because the teachers don’t command respect?”
She agreed that there are teachers who just want to be popular, and refuse to do the right thing by confiscating handphones. Instead, they’d rather be “closer” to the students, at the latter’s peril.
For if your master comes down to your level, he is actually no better than you right?
What happened to teachers who would strike fear into students’ hearts by their mere presence?
I’d bet these teachers are nearly extinct, because our stupid modern culture says it’s better to be hip and warm than distant and cold. (See silly hip-hopping MPs for eg.)
In the TV series “Heroes”, the main villain Sylar’s core power is one of incredible potential. He is able to see how things work, how people can have unique powers. Unfortunately, he has to cut open their brains to figure out how first, then “absorbing” the new powers for himself.
In real life, one does not have to kill people to learn their extraordinary abilities. The problem comes when you know you have come into such abilities, what do you do with them?
Do you paint a new future with your small brush on the canvas which stretches far beyond your vision? Or do you wallow in despair with your fellow men, complaining that the canvas is too big to be changed?
God willing, we should never drop our brushes.