Welcome to Proverbs 365! This blogging project is my attempt to read one chapter of Proverbs daily and then share a piece of wisdom or lesson learned from within that daily chapter. Proverbs are God’s version of daily Best Practices: they help us through good times and bad. When life becomes stressful, Proverbs are there to help us make better choices. Feel free to join me in Proverbs 365–either on your blog or by leaving your daily Proverbs lesson in the comments below!
1The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
I have a friend who has destroyed her own career. It isn’t hard to do–we all mess up. But ‘Helen’ never meant to destroy her career. She thinks she is building it up. That she knows the secret formula to getting ahead in life. And come hell nor high water, she’s getting ahead.
Unfortunately, she chose the fools way of getting ahead. She got the big job–the one she never expected to get. She got the nice paycheck. The title that inspired respect. She had friends and she did her job very well. Things went well.
But Helen wasn’t satisfied. Constantly looking for who might be trying to ‘steal’ it away, she decided the best thing to do was to make everyone else look bad. Because when they looked bad, then she looked good. Or so she thought. She took the fool’s road to success–elevating herself by putting down others. That is one of those methods that works for a short time, but eventually it catches up with you.
Instead of building a strong house, of doing a great job and encouraging those who worked with her; instead of giving positive feedback; instead of giving constructive criticism–all of those things work to build people up. Instead of improving the house, instead of building it up–Helen decided that tearing the people down was better. What she didn’t realize was that as she did it, she was tearing down the very house she needed to live in. Eventually the people around her learned of her tricks, of her deceptions. And Helen was thrown out.
Here is the biggest difference between the wise–or those who have hope of true wisdom–and the fool: she never took responsibility for her actions. To this day Helen blames everyone around her for her misfortune. She continues to see nothing wrong with her behavior. She continues to see the world as a place of competition, out to steal what she has. And for the people who threw her out? Helen shows no remorse–she continues to see them as the fools. She continues to see them as the ones to blame. She continues to vow revenge against those who have ‘done her wrong.’
The wise woman–or one with a hope of gaining wisdom–would realize their own destructive behavior. They would seek to make amends, somehow. The wise person then stops lashing out at all the “injustice” done to them to begin learning anew what their behavior *should* have been. They begin to walk that road, building up those around them, so that they too will be built up.
The wise one will move forward and rise again. The fool? Will stay stuck in bad circumstances, forever wondering why the world hates them so much.