We teach our kids to look both ways before they cross the street. We teach them not to talk to strangers. We teach them to lock the doors, not to touch a hot burner on the stove and to make sure they change the oil in the car. We don’t teach these things to punish our kids or to make their lives miserable. We teach these things to protect our kids from harm and unnecessary frustration and hurt.
The same is true of God. He gives us wisdom so that we will be protected from harm and to avoid unnecessary frustration and hurt. To be sure, God allows some things to happen to us to build character and trust in Him, but sometimes––many times––the unpleasant, harmful and dangerous situations we find ourselves in are because our lack of wisdom. To be even clearer––sometimes we are just stupid and careless. We disregard what his word says.
Proverbs 2:12-19, explains that when we have wisdom we will have the discretion and understanding to avoid 7 things:
1. The way of evil – vs. 12
2. The one who says perverse things – vs. 12
(perverse is from the Hebrew word tahpukat and it literally means purposefully offensive, contrary, rebellious or obstinate)
3. The one who abandons the right way to way in darkness – vs. 13
4. The ones who enjoy doing evil – vs. 14
5. The ones who celebrate perversion – vs. 14 (perversion means he seeks his own pleasure above everyone and everything else)
6. The ones whose paths are crooked – vs. 15
7. The ones whose ways are devious – vs. 15
8. The forbidden woman – vs. 16-19 (adulterous or prostitute)
These are 8 specific things that if we should avoid if we want to make wise decisions. These eight things are so obvious in our society today. We see them reflected in our television shows, our movies, our news reports, our schools, our clubs, our jobs. I dare say you could identify one of them right now as you are reading this.
We need to wake up and realize that these are influencers in our lives and the lives of our children. We have become lazy in letting TV, video games, soap operas, reality TV, vulgar movies, magazines, guilty pleasures and crude comedy and sarcasm determine our speech, our actions and the way we are raising our kids.
Believe me…I am preaching to myself. These are the hard choices. These are the moments where the rubber meets the road of wisdom or foolishness. These are the moments we have to put action to what we say we believe.
Speaking from my own experience, I know that one of the reasons that I become lazy in avoiding these traps of the enemy is because I don’t think ahead to the consequences. One day when my kids were smaller, we were sitting in the living room watching a popular kid’s channel on TV. I remember I was folding laundry when I heard one of the child actors speak so degradingly to her actor father. I looked up quickly from the laundry and watched my kids laugh just as the “live audience” applause was cued. Something in my spirit became unsettled. I was disturbed that my “good kids” were already being programmed to speak in such disrespect. What seemed like harmless sarcasm and sassiness between a ten-year-old actor and her father became a nudge from the Holy Spirit. When I thought of my kids ever talking to their dad that way it saddened me. I was prompted to look at the future. And I didn't like what I was seeing.
Friends, we need to be more aware. It’s easy to say these things are foolish and we should avoid them, but that day in my living room, I had to have a hard conversation with my kids about why we wouldn’t be watching that show anymore. I’m not saying the Lord will convict you the same way he has me. But there are things spelled out plainly in these verses that we should avoid. When we pay attention, considering the consequences of succumbing to them and listen for the quiet rush of the Holy Spirit, we are wise.
And that’s where I want to be.