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Proverb 13: 10

Through overconfidence comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel.

The God’s Word translation uses the word “arrogance” in place of overconfidence. I guess either will do. The point is that when we think we have all the answers, are the font of knowledge, inevitably we come to ruin. Wisdom is in an abundance of counselors.

If the book of Proverbs stands for any one thing, it is wisdom. Here, then, is another dose of wisdom. Solicit advice, receive counsel. In the end, you still have to make your own decision, but you can do so with more perspective. There is something more here though.

Arrogance leads to strife; the verse tells us. This statement is an acknowledgement that we live in dynamic systems. No one is an island. Your decisions affect others. Even at times when it seems your life course is purely a matter of your own concern, it rarely is the case. Our decisions affect others. When we exclude those people from speaking into our lives, we sow seeds of strife. We convey their unimportance and our lack of respect for their thoughts.

My best friend in college didn’t see many things the way I did. You would think that would make us unlikely friends. However, it was just the opposite. I could have never thought the things she thought or seen from those perspectives without her. She always opened my mind to different views. Even if it was sometimes painful for me to stretch that far, it was always illustrative and valuable. Even to this day, I am a better person for having known her. And she is still someone I call when trying to sort out complicated questions.

My point is, first, you don’t have to have all the answers. That really is God’s job and way too heavy a burden for any of us. Second, being that person only makes others think of you as arrogant and dislike you. Third, it sows the seeds of strife in families, work settings and even in friendship. Fourth, it proves you to be unwise rather than wise. The arrogant prove themselves to be ignorant. What a Catch 22 that is. Only those humble enough to receive counsel prove themselves wise. Last, I would add that it is that person who receives counsel who proves themselves secure. The overconfident, arrogant person is anything but self-assured. The truly secure are able to hear other opinions without being intimidated.

So, who are you and who do you want to be? Can you graciously give advice? Can you receive counsel? It is not a sign of weakness to ask other’s opinions. It is a sign of strength.

Proverb 13

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