Part 2 in a series. Focus on attitudes. Prov. 17-18
Attitude has a lot to do with our thoughts, what’s going on inside. You can know the right things to say but if you’re corrupt inside, God knows.
As we said last time, in relation to our words:
⁃ Learn restraint
⁃ Practice silence
⁃ Shape your words
⁃ Encourage examination
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Prov. 18:15
Rather than work on shaping our words so they sound right, so they are to our advantage, with the risk we will slip up and our real intentions will be known, let’s work on our attitude and how an improved, wise attitude, will shape our words correctly and be reflective of pure intentions, of a pure heart. From the heart proceed either good things or bad things, Jesus Himself said in Matt. 15.
1. Keep your cool, 17:27. Anger can drive us to words we will later regret. We have to learn not to just restrain our words, but to have a cool spirit, a spirit of understanding. We have to work at not letting our emotions get the best of us. 19:11 - good sense makes one slow to anger. Be patient and wait for all the details to be revealed. Too often in our society, people make snap judgments. They hear the initial report and immediately react and don’t wait for all of the information, their minds already made up. People don’t have all of the information and yet they have a whole lot to say. 19:2 - desire without knowledge is not good. We have to find ways to make peace in contentious situations so we don’t let emotion drive our actions. That requires remaining calm.
2. Seek understanding, 18:15. This is in contrast to seeking to justify, which is seeking your own ends, trying to prove yourself right. If you make snap decisions based upon emotion without all the facts, then you find you have to defend your position. You’re only seeing something from one perspective. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing their opinion, 18:2. Today there is very little seeking to understand. most people just want to express their thoughts, who cares if anyone agrees with you. The ear of the wise seeks knowledge, 18:15.
3. Avoid pride, 18:12. Pride may be the biggest sin because it stands behind everything else. Pride is behind fornication, for instance, just doing what you want to do. A proud man is always looking down on people, CS. Lewis says. Most marriage problems come down to selfishness, I am not getting what I want... pride. Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit behind a fall. Prov. 16:18. Before destruction, the heart of a man is haughty, humility comes before honor, 18:12. Pride surfaces in many ways - being a know it all; being offended easily - unwilling to listen, our ego in the way.
Try to see the best in people.
19:20- listen to advice and accept instruction that you may gain wisdom in the future. If we are going to avoid pride we have to have an ear that seeks understanding. Sometimes we are off, out of alignment. Be willing to listen, to seek advice.
Jesus says it is what proceeds from the heart that truly matters.