Bookends for life!
I don't know about you, but over the course of my life I have had more than one occasion when others poked fun at my choices - sometimes even going so far as to make me feel foolish for my beliefs. As I have grown in my relationships with Jesus, I don't succumb to their pressure so much anymore, but in my "baby walk" with Jesus, I did. There is just something about being made sport of, or being ridiculed for your "stand" in life which makes it harder and harder to just "stand" - especially when you faith is not really all that mature in the first place! When I look back at some of the times I simply "caved" to the criticisms around me, I wonder about where my "common sense" was in those moments. If my spiritual wisdom or insight weren't enough to keep me from some of the foolishness I pursued, then what was wrong with my common sense - why didn't it come to my rescue? I have discovered the two go hand in hand - one doesn't work all that well without the other. They are like bookends - take away one and some of the books may stay standing, but eventually there will be drift! The best thing we can do is use these two "skill sets" to provide "balance" in our lives - wisdom and common sense partnering to keep us from succumbing to the pressures to compromise our convictions.
Make fun of wisdom, and you will never find it. But if you have understanding, knowledge comes easily. Stay away from fools, or you won’t learn a thing. Wise people have enough sense to find their way, but stupid fools get lost. Fools don’t care if they are wrong, but God is pleased when people do right. (Proverbs 14:6-9 CEV)
The saddest thing is that those who pressured me into compromises actually were not doing or saying anything I didn't already sort of want to do in the first place! When they talked me into going past clearly marked "Do Not Trespass" signs into land I should have known better than to trespass on, I kind of wanted the "thrill" of doing it! This is not uncommon for us - we just don't listen to our common sense telling us to avoid the hazards of clearly disobeying what we know to be right. Learning is indeed impacted by who it is we associate with - but compromise opportunities are magnified by the company we allow to "speak into" our lives with their taunts, jeers, and even their invitations!
Fools don't care when they go wrong - it is as though they have the reins of their lives and they don't really see themselves accountable to anyone else but themselves. I don't know about you, but trying to hold myself accountable is one of the hardest things for me to do! It is like the fox watching the hen house! Eventually my appetites and desires get the best of me! Hopefulness is good, but it doesn't keep me on track. When I want to grow in wisdom and really learn to make better choices in life, I find I need accountability both "within" and "without". I need someone other than me watching the hen house!
As I was hanging out with my BFF for a while after work yesterday, this smile began to drift across my face. We were just walking along and I began to feel a little light in my step, and truthfully, a smile began to emerge from deep within. Those who passed me must have noticed, for they all began to smile back! I had to just look over at my BFF and let her know how much I enjoyed hanging out with her. Her response? She likes it, too! What we do for each other is kind of like what jelly does for peanut butter. Peanut butter and jelly alone on bread is good, but put them together and you get awesome! We are "good" for each other - we need each other's influence in our lives - not because one of is "better" than the other, but because we "belong" together.
Fools don't have a sense of "belonging" really - for they are adrift in their own foolish pursuits. They might have a lot of traveling companions - but they don't really sense this deeper appreciation of those they are placed with in this life. To really develop wisdom in our lives, we need to remember the placement of common sense as the opposite bookend. In the middle, we need solid relationships which will help us remain upright, put a little lightness in our step, and just help us enjoy the journey. My BFF and I often comment about how we are kind of like bookends - a matched set. Truth be told, we each have wisdom and common sense we each need! Find a loyal friend who values wisdom and common sense as much as you do and you will find the walk a little "lighter" in this life! Just sayin!