the word, 'wisdom' spelled out in scrabble tiles

Psalm 80; Isaiah 32:9-20; James 3:13-18

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. James 3:13-18

The actual verses for the reading today in James were just seventeen and eighteen. But, I wanted to include the broader context because I think that it is important.

Particularly what strikes me is that a life that is rooted in wisdom brings about a couple of results. Firs, is gentleness. In our day gentleness is not seen as much of a value. Many people are looking for a strong-man who will win and dominate their enemies. Some believe that this the wise way of engaging in the world, particularly for Christians. But, what we see is that a life that is marked by wisdom is going to be displayed as one that gentle.

Second, a life of wisdom sows peace that yields righteousness. Again, this runs counter to so much of our current culture. Too many of us believe that righteousness can only be brought about through violence and anger. If we are not owning the other side whether through physical or verbal assault then we are indeed losing, argues the culture. But, that is not the way of wisdom. If we are going to pursue the path of wisdom we are going to do so by making peace. This will require creative engagement with the world. It means that we must be willing to be faithfully present even in the conflict.

Notice also the opposite values of wisdom: envy, selfish-ambition, boasting, false to the truth, disorder, partiality, and hypocrisy. Where these are present, there is no wisdom.

I know I need to take a good long look in the mirror and wrestle with my own heart. What dominates my way of being in the world? The way wisdom or the way of non-wisdom?