Which Way to Wisdom? -Bette Dowdell

Since my dad and mom were both preachers, I spent a fair amount of time in church. And since both were good preachers–and knowledgeable–I even listened to what they had to say. Daddy’s approach was intelligent, logical and humorous while Mom sparked her sermons with occasional fire-breathing, pulpit-pounding moments. Neither had a problem with sleepers in the pews.

I learned the Bible repeatedly states that wisdom begins with recognizing who God is. Some translations call it “the fear of the Lord.” It’s the recognition that God made the universe, controls the universe, set standards for the universe–and, should he decide to, could squash you like a bug without even breaking a sweat.

Nowadays, though, people have decided they’re their own Gods, setting their own standards–now called values–and they wouldn’t think of disciplining their adorable selves–so anything goes. They claim they’re good with God–a statement made with fingers in the ears and much singing because while they want to believe that’s the case, they know–particularly at inconvenient times like 3 a.m., it’s not.

How do today’s so-called values point out our lack of wisdom? Values are pretty relaxed while the Bible’s really straightforward. For one instance, the Bible votes for truth and against lies–without the use of modifying adjectives.

Values, what with being so undemanding, are in style.

For instance, in this political season, have you sifted through media reports for truth? Pretty slim pickings, eh? And all whilst reporters pontificate about being keepers of the sacred torch!

And people pushing a cause will say anything. The polar bear population is exploding, but since that doesn’t fit the global warming agenda, we get pitiful pictures of “endangered” polar bears.

Teachers seem to think we send our kids to school for political indoctrination instead of readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic. Bruising the hearts of vulnerable children is just so much collateral damage. Can’t be helped. Agenda trumps kids.

Lying is in style. Big time. And the constant rationalizations that it’s all for the good could stun a woodchuck.

But here’s the real deal: Lying is stupid.

Every lie digs a hole. The old rule said that once you find yourself in a hole, you should quit digging. The new rule says to pile on more lies to make it look good–which is stupid squared.

You want to sign away your rights to any hope of personal peace? Lie.

You want to destroy your relations with others? Lie.

You want to leave divots in your child’s future? Lie.

Sometimes lying looks like the easy way out, but stupidity has a price, and you will pay it. Guaranteed.

See, another thing the Bible says is we all reap what we sow. Lying sows destruction.

People get confused about this because they don’t stop to think that reaping hardly ever comes the very next day after sowing. They sow a lie and when nothing bad happens, believe they got away with it. Unfortunately, appearances can be deceiving, and by the time the bill comes due, they’ve done a lot of damage to themselves and to others. And they’re in a really deep hole.

On the other hand, wisdom also has guaranteed rewards. Good rewards. It’s a better deal all around.

Wisdom starts with accepting the fact that God is God, and we’re not.

So wise up.

Bette Dowdell grew up in The Salvation Army and worked in high tech–as an IBM Systems Engineer, consultant and software company owner–and also taught the Bible to anybody who listened. Go to to learn more about Bette, her books, articles, blog and speaking. And check out her original, take-the-hill quotes at .
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