Thursday, December 8, 2011

What is Wisdom?

Early this morning I was certain I saw someone on Facebook ask the question. “What is wisdom?” A little later, when I went back to the individual's page to make a comment, the question was no longer there. Then I wondered if I mistakenly thought it was one person, when, in fact, it was another. Maybe I dreamed it. Now I am not sure. Regardless, this led me to jot down a few thoughts concerning wisdom, which I will now share with you.

Three words are sometimes used interchangeably: knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Though they are related and often interwoven, they are not synonyms.

Knowledge – has to do with mental gathering of facts,
Understanding – has to do with the mental grasping of those facts in the context of its original setting - why a fact is a fact, so to speak,
Wisdom – puts into practice the making of right decisions in ones life – in thought, word and deed – based on the knowledge and understanding we have.

The opposite of knowledge is ignorance
The opposite of understanding, in this context, is being naive
The opposite of wisdom is foolishness

As one simply and succinctly put it, “Wisdom is the ability to live life skillfully.”

How often have we or others we know made foolish decisions that resulted in bad outcomes? Outcomes that could have easily been avoided if we had acted wisely instead.

As we go through life, we would do well to remember the words of Proverbs 4:7, which says, “Wisdom is the principle thing, therefore get wisdom.”

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