‘The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge.’ Proverbs 12:23 NLT
Do you have a hard time refraining from offering unsolicited advice? Do you routinely use expressions like ‘You should’, or ‘You shouldn’t’? People tend to resent someone who always assumes that they know what’s best for them. Even when you feel like you’ve earned the right to speak into someone’s life, proceed with caution. Saying ‘Have you considered?’ sounds a lot less controlling, and will be more readily received, than telling somebody ‘You must’, or ‘You mustn’t.’
Deborah Pegues writes: ‘Even if you have knowledge and insight into a certain situation, sometimes it’s prudent to keep silent and give another the joy and fulfilment of explaining it.’ Being an ‘expert’ on almost every topic is a sure indication of pride, and it’s repulsive to God and man. Even if you’re brilliant but humble, your very presence can cause those with low self-esteem to feel uncomfortable and inferior. Displaying intellectual superiority simply alienates people, and can cause them to look for areas of weakness in your life in order to cut you down to size.
If you tend to be a know-it-all, you may need to do some honest soul-searching. Is your display of knowledge a disguise for insecurity? Do you long for attention or appreciation from others because you’re not getting it from the source you desire? Try this: listen attentively, ask for ideas, resist correcting and disputing, and limit your opinion to one or two points. You’ll be surprised how quickly your relationships will start to improve. People enjoy a dialogue, not a monologue, so live by this time-tested Scriptural principle: ‘The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge.’
SoulFood: Jer 51–52, Luke 6:1–16, Ps 137, Pr 15:15–17
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023