For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.Proverbs 2:6
Are we naturally wise? Do we automatically become wiser with age? Can we gain wisdom by doing nothing other than just living? Does experience count as wisdom?
Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.
Wise or Experienced
One could argue that by simply experiencing life we will gain wisdom. The experiences we have in our life by themselves will make us more wise than we were before. There is a small amount of truth to that premise in that by just experiencing life, we will gain additional knowledge that we previously did not have.
Does this count as wisdom or does it just make us expereienced? Experience alone while valuable does not make us wise. A life of negative experiences without learning from them, leaves us prone to repeat previous mistakes and prevent us from growing and learnign as individuals.
To be wise one needs to have not only experience but also knowledge. Knowledge can be gleaned or learned from the experience. Incorporating this knowledge into our future experiences demonstrates growth as individuals. Using this knowledge to better ourselves and others illustrates good judgment. The combination of these attributes is what makes one wise.
Good Wisdom/ Bad Wisdom
Can wisdom be bad?
Wisdom as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is the “Capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct; soundness of judgement in the choice of means and ends; sometimes, less strictly, sound sense, especially in practical affairs.
From this definition it appears that wisdom cannot be “BAD” as contained within the definition are a couple of key notes. Firstly the definition states wisdom is “the capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct”. If your judgement is skewed and you are making poor decisions or bad decisions by definition you are not acting wisely.
Secondly the definition goes on to state that wisdom is using “sound judgment in the choice of means and ends”. If you are making poor or bad decisions you would not be exhibiting sound judgment thus you would not be accused of making wise decisions or displaying wisdom of any sort.
Learning From Our Experiences
Every experience that we have contains vital information crticial to our spiritual, emotional and even physical development. We grow as individuals when we reflect on our experiences, both good and bad.
From our bad experiences we learn what did not work and what we should refrain from doing in the future. If we have a negative experience but choose not to reflect on it, take anything away from it or resolve not to do it again we have essentially stayed the same. We have not grown, we have not matured, we have not incorporated anything in our lives to prevent this negative experience from recurring.
Positive experiences can also go either way. Upon reflecting on a postive experience we once again have the choice of learning what worked well, what helped this experience be positive and what we should do in the future to keep our positive momentum rolling. After all we really don’t want to experience negative things so why not grow, mature, learn and position ourselves to experience all things positive.
Our Guide for Wisdom
Today we are fortunate because knowledge is literally at our very fingertips constantly. Smartphones, tablets, portable computers we are so plugged into knowledge that often times we take for granted the opportunities in front of us and squander our time on social media, gaming, chatting or simply passing time watching without really engaging.
The internet has a wealth of information, not all of it good of course but even still the amount of good, solid, healthy knowledge out there is remarkable. Our experience both good and bad can be researched, discussed and analyzed without even leavign the house.
Peers, elders, youth – our counterparts in sharing wisdom. The human element of wisdom is priceless and can be found on the internet per the paragraph above. However actual interaction with another human being, that conversation, the sharing of memories, experiences, things learned with someone the same age, older or younger can provide us with additional wisdom. We all have different experiences. What I have done in my life can be relayed to my wife, kids, colleagues, sharing the things that have worked and not worked may very well help someone avoid a disastrous situation.
The oftern overlooked and sometimes less credited book of wisdom, the one guide we should all live our lives by, the one with all of the answers has been around for thousands of years. There are many variations, many differnet interpretations, many different beliefs however the guiding principles, the WISDOM contained within it’s pages has remained the same for thousands of years.
To this day the WISDOM contained within can be applied and learned to grow us as individuals, to help us navigate the troubled waters and savor the wonders provided to us by our one and only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The pages of the Bible have all the answers, all the wisdom, the roadmap and instructions for a life well lived here and beyond.
A WISE man once told me “It’s important to know what you know, It’s even more important to know what you DON’T know.
Life is a constant learn, we have to continue to grow, continue to mature physically, emotionally and most importantly spirtually.
Our personal experiences will provide us with a good base of knowledge. Applying that knowledge to our lives, helping us to make sound judgements is part of gaining wisdom.
Sharing that wisdom with our peers is beneficial for all mankind. Sharing the message of our Lord and Savior, sharing the wisdom of all wisdom from the only guide we ever need to live our lives is critical to preserving our eternal lives.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.James 3:17
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.Colossians 4:5-6
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.James 3:13