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In Pursuit of Wisdom

Proverbs Podcasts 2020 #11

Warren E. Berkley


This is Podcast #11 in this series of brief podcasts based on the book of Proverbs. I post these every Monday.

So I was recently looking into various passages in Proverbs about wisdom in relationships. This book is a treasure of wisdom for our use in all our relationships, first with God. Then, in all our earthly relationships, we need to be instructed by wisdom.

For example – friendships with people outside the home. I want to share with you some thoughts I had about three passages in Proverbs – we can apply to friendships.

Prov. 27:17 – “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

We often apply this to friends helping friends through encouragement and motivation. Similar to Ecclesiastes four – where one man lifts another or provides warmth. I think that is correct. But, there could be another part of this. When you consider the image of iron sharpening iron – there is friction.

Sometimes, friction in a relationship can carry some degree of pain, but with good outcome. I’m not talking about strife or insults. No. Constructive criticism. We need friends to tell us the truth, to speak the truth in love – correcting us. Earlier in this context, Prov. 27, a related statement: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy,” (Prov. 27:6).

I don’t want my friends just to heap constant flattery on me. I want them to care for me enough, to sharpen me with constructive criticism, crucial conversations given to nurture growth. This is part of the iron sharpening iron.

Then, there was another statement in Proverbs I wanted to comment on, about friendships. In Prov. 25:17, “Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of your and hate you.”

I heard something like this when I was growing up. It was called “wearing out your welcome.” The story has been told of a couple who entertained another couple at their house, and the visitors just didn’t seem to have good sense about when to leave. So one time, it was so late at night – the host and hostess excused themselves and came back into the living room with their pajamas on! That was a clear message. Don’t overstay.

Now, when I read this proverb, I decided to attempt a free-flowing paraphrase that sounded like this: “Let your digital footprint be seldom in your neighbor’s newsfeed, lest he have his fill of you and unfriend you.”

I’m going to let you think about that. Before you put your pajamas on, I’m going to make my way out the door. 

Thank you for listening.



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