Our class at Cornerstone School of Ministry was treated on Tuesday to a teaching on Proverbs by an elder in our church. We were looking specifically at Proverbs 4 and a question came up about the use of the words "knowledge," "understanding" and "wisdom." We had a discussion on what each of those words means and after hearing an excellent, enlightening explanation by one of our brightest students (Editor's note: Didn't you say Brenton offered the explanation?) I thought of it in the context of my life. Specifically last Saturday afternoon when I resorted to my knucklehead tendencies.
Eli had been throwing a fit (Shocking but true: Our resident 4-year-old can throw some real humdinger fits.) and after he finally settled down -- with the aid of our friend "Mr. Spoon" -- it was time to say sorry to the person he wronged. I was in the process of taking the kids for a walk in the neighborhood and was getting kids ready to do that and to confound matters there was a dirty diaper involved. So I got slightly distracted and lost track of whether or not Eli had actually apologized to the aggrieved party. I asked him twice to do it and went off to change a diaper. We were outside in the garage and I was loading up kids in the jogger/stroller when Julie appeared. "Did Eli say he was sorry?" she said. I didn't know the answer to that. Soon we learned he hadn't, even though you'll recall I had told him twice to take care of it when we were still inside. Silly me assuming my 4-year-old would handle this, eh?
Frustrated, I growled at Eli, "Get your butt in there and apologize." At this point I was called out by my 15-year-old son, Ethan. "Dad!" he said. Needless to say, my knee-jerk reaction didn't go over so well with Eli and he started throwing another fit, creating more problems. Here's where knowledge, understanding and wisdom come into play. `Knowledge' would be knowing that saying, "Get your butt in there and apologize," to Eli wouldn't go over so well. `Understanding' would be seeing that the words would cause more friction and damage and would be ineffective methods of conveying my desire for him to apologize. Or in other words, I would understand what a stupid thing it is to say to my 4-year-old. Now we come to wisdom. `Wisdom' would be holding my tongue and saying something else to him. Such as, "Eli, let's go inside and apologize to (so-and-so)." Knowledge, understanding and wisdom. May the Lord grant me the wisdom to understand this concept.