Wisdom and the Unsent Letter

Rash reactions are never best.

In the moment, when we’re swimming in emotions and anger threatens to pull us under, a sudden outburst feels best. But if we give in, we say and do things we wish we’d never said or done.

I remember, years ago, a certain man would write railing letters to me. I knew his handwriting, and I’d usually toss his letter aside with a shrug. But one day, in a weak moment, it got to me. I grabbed his letter and wrote a scorching response. I spent over two hours on it—I mean I set the record straight and put that guy in his place!

I handed the letter to my executive assistant and said to her, “Here, type this up.” She typed it, then returned and said, “Do you mind if I make a comment?”

“No,” I answered.

Then she suggested, “I would sleep on that letter before I sent it. I think you’d be wise to just spend tonight thinking about it.”

She couldn’t have been more correct! Her thinking was that after a night’s sleep, I would see the situation more clearly—through the eyes of wisdom.

Dictionaries offer multiple options, but really, wisdom has a simple definition: Looking at life from God’s point of view.

If we could see life as God sees it, we’d be able to see through problems to what’s right and good, not just at problems and how we feel about them.

Wouldn’t you like to see your problems from God’s point of view? You can . . . through the lens of His Word! The book of Proverbs offers a good starting place. This eye-opening book teaches us that wisdom is available.

Wisdom shouts in the street,
She cries out in the public square.
(Proverbs 1:20)

Wisdom cries for your attention: “I want to be a part of you. Let me in!” Wisdom is knocking at your door, right now!

However, wisdom won’t barge in. It stands within reach, but you can choose to keep it at arm’s length. Wisdom can be spurned. Like a jilted lover, lady wisdom weeps:

“I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come.
I reached out to you, but no one paid attention.”
(Proverbs 1:24)

Our problem is not the availability of wisdom; rather, it’s our lack of passion for it. God still gives a generous supply of wisdom to people with a passion for it. But you must ask for it (James 1:5)! And once you receive it, cling to it. Follow it. Don’t let your passion for wisdom fade!

True wisdom originates from outside our rashly impulsive natures. Wisdom comes from God Himself—straight from His heart . . . through His Word . . . to where we live.

Need wisdom in dealing with a critic? An irrational ex-spouse? A defiant child? A lifelong struggle with anxiety?

  • Saturate your mind with God’s Word.
  • Have an attentive ear to God’s voice.
  • Request divine understanding from God’s heart.
  • Seek wisdom with passion and then put it into practice!

The wisdom you need will be at hand precisely when you need it.

By the way, I found a proverb for the next time I’m tempted to cross swords with a critic:

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing. 
(Proverbs 12:18, NASB)

How helpful is that! Had I recalled that bit of godly counsel in the moment, God’s wisdom would have clarified my vision, calmed my heart . . . and I wouldn’t have wasted my time on that letter! (By the way, thanks to my assistant’s wise counsel, I never sent my rash letter.)

So, open the Book . . . God’s book of wisdom, His Word. And your eyes will open to wisdom. You’ll never waste your time doing that. I promise.

Copyright © 2017 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide.
Posted in Anger, Bible and tagged .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.