“To give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge and discretion” Proverbs 1:4
Wisdom and good judgment are in short supply today. Not only does foolish behavior thrive in our culture; it’s often celebrated. No book in the Bible talks more about wisdom and foolishness than Proverbs. As a matter of fact, the stated purpose of Proverbs is, “To know wisdom…” (Prov. 1:2a). In the first seven verses, Solomon eloquently describes why his collection of wise sayings is useful. Acquiring wisdom bares itself out in one’s attitudes and actions. It shows us how to use good judgment.
How do we know if we’re exercising good judgment? Well, sometimes it’s just applying old fashion common sense. Proverbs 14:15 tells us, “The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps.” While the simple-minded go through life un-cautious and unaware, those with good judgment give forethought to their actions.In other words, they use discretion.
Solomon urges, “My son, let them not vanish from your sight; keep sound wisdom and discretion,” (3:21). This careful approach to life guards against evil, perversity, deviousness, and immorality (2:11-16). And it’s usually accompanied by other signs of good judgment such as knowledge and prudence (5:2, 8:12).
Now, we don’t use the word prudence much these days, but a closer look adds to our understanding of good judgment. The prudent avoid places where evil is on display (22:3, 27:12); they don’t lash out in anger (12:16); and they know when to be quiet (12:23, 17:28).
Does your life show evidence of good judgment? Or, do you speak impulsively and act in a reckless manner? In today’s world, using common sense might make you stand out. As a matter of fact, following Christ often means not following conventional wisdom. If we want “to know wisdom,” then we need to embrace the teachings and sayings of wise. Exercising good judgment will not only affect your attitudes and actions; it will guard you from the foolishness of the world.