“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” James 3:17
When you hear the word “wisdom,” do you picture an old, bearded guru sitting on top of a mountain? Do you think privately, “I can’t possibly be ‘wise’ – that’s for special, super-holy saints, not for me!”
But we – all of us – are called to be wise, and James describes very clearly what that wisdom looks like. It is “pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”
Do you notice something interesting about that list? It doesn’t say, “The wisdom from about involves a rare and mysterious enlightenment,” or “The wisdom from above is reserved for special men and women who are somehow holier than everyone else.” Instead, each item on the list describes a character trait – traits that are completely within everybody’s grasp.
If wisdom is a matter of character, then being wise is primarily about how we approach a situation, not about whether we have answers to every dilemma.
To begin to think of wisdom as it is described in James 3:17, consider a perplexing or difficult situation you are currently facing and ask yourself:
Have I been responding to this situation in a pure manner, or do I have sin that I need to confess and repent of?
Have I been seeking peace in this situation, or have I been adding fuel to the fire?
Have I been gentle with everyone involved, including myself?
Have I been reasonable in what I say and how I say it, or have I been reacting out of my emotions?
Have I been willing to extend mercy and forgiveness to other’s faults, or am I holding onto my hurts and grudges?
Have I been willing to do good to the others involved, or am I withholding myself from them?
Have I been unwavering in my commitment to what is right?
Have I been honest and open with everyone involved?