Day 2 in Proverbs
Proverbs 2: 2-3 “Keep in tune with wisdom and think what it means to have common sense.”
I worked at a children’s home right after I graduated from college….and there I met some really charming teenagers. They would also shake your hand and steal your ring off your finger. They were the ultimate smooth talkers…..once a couple of these kids ran away and ended up getting cops to transport them from county line to county line. (Their story was they were poor college students who were visiting friends and got in a fight and they were hitchhiking home because the friends threw them out. The cops bought it.) They were 14 and 15. These kids were so great and charming on one level, but really screwed up on another. If they would befriend someone, that person would see the charming side, but before they knew it they would find themselves in a very dark place. Like law enforcement transporting minor children from county to county. The kids came from a dark place themselves, so that was home to them. And they liked visitors.
Interesting to think that Solomon, the writer of these verses, was the son of David and Bathsheba, isn’t it? Remember them? King David, who (if he had been doing what he was supposed to be doing) should have been leading his troops in battle, but instead was hanging out at home on the rooftop. He spotted Bathsheba on her roof having a bath and decided he wanted her, summoned her (he was king….he could do that) and thus began real life drama. (Bathsheba gets pregnant, her husband is sent to the front lines of battle where he is killed, etc., etc., etc.) I don’t know….while King David usually gets the blame here (and deserves it), I always have thought that there was a really good shot that Bathsheba was well aware that the handsome King David was watching her….and did her part to make sure he noticed all of her attributes. And I think their son Solomon probably was taught from two people who later had interesting perspectives on this little scenario and who actually learned from their mistakes.
I wonder sometimes whether everyone thinks they have common sense. We all can look around and see that they don’t…..but I suspect that those that don’t, usually don’t know that it is missing. I don’t think they are wasting much time thinking about it…..or anything. The truth is that common sense requires you to see life in simple terms. To break it down to the lowest common denominator. To be able to describe it to the simplest of minds. To do that you have to spend some time thinking about it so you understand it.
We are trained as women to be manipulative at an early age. A girl child is born and what do you say to her daddy? “She’s going to have you wrapped around her little finger!” Men are taught manipulation, too….but most just aren’t as good at it. I think there is a certain amount of it that comes naturally to women. You can see it all the way back to Eve. “Hey Adam, want a bite of this apple?” “Sure!”
I remember in college when I noticed that I have this “power.” I played all kinds of manipulation games with my boyfriend…..wondering how much he would be willing to do if I just asked for it the right way (a lot!) Or didn’t ask for it and made him think it was his idea (more!) I finally had that light bulb moment, realized I was doing it and it scared me that not only was I doing it…but how good I was at it. I’m still embarrassed that I allowed myself to be that way. It’s one of my fears in relationships still….that I will be that person again. And she’s not someone I respect. We’re all manipulative (in both positive and negative ways), but if we are using it for our own good all the time and taking advantage of other people, we’re living a self centered life. And we aren’t in healthy relationships. A good reason to be in relationships with wise people…..who notice when the balance is out of whack and hold us accountable. Someone who actually notices the negative manipulation and calls us on it when necessary. Someone who sees the bad and our good…..and wants to encourage our good.
How do we get out of tune with wisdom? We forget to think. We make decisions out of emotion, out of feelings, or just because someone else tells us what to do. We go through life on auto pilot….or allowing ourselves to be easily distracted.
Often we think someone either has common sense or they don’t….but that is not quite true. It’s a bit more complicated than that. Common sense is out there to be had by all….but you first have to do the work. Your mind has to be in gear….in tune with what makes sense. Thinking about what is really said and what is really revealed. Not just hearing the words, but trying to determine the character of the person speaking those words. Looking at their track record, and realizing that if someone has not left the path, they are still on the way to their original destination. We can all be fooled by a smooth talker. Some are just fooled over and over again. Their wisdom is out of tune. And usually once lost, that tune is hard to get back.