The Black-and-White of Proverbs

Encouragement for Your Heart and Mind from Pastor David Staff

I’m sure you’ve noticed.  And, perhaps, it has struck you as strange.  It sure does a lot of people.

The “black-and-white” mindset you find in the Scriptural compass of Proverbs.
There’s just rarely any middle ground.  You’re either humble, or proud.  Wise, or a fool.  Pursuing righteousness or courting wickedness.  Naïve or discerning.  Leaning on your own understanding or truly trusting the Lord.  Generous and giving or stingy and withholding.

Black-and-white thinking makes us uncomfortable.  Maybe even nervous.  Even more so living in a culture where 50 (or more) shades of gray are so acceptable to so many.  Then we run into Proverbs and the cutting edge of truth gives us more than a small paper-cut.
In his helpful volume Time for Truth, Os Guiness reminds that our world is more comfortable with “truth that is socially constructed,” i.e., truth is “merely a matter of human convention.”  In other words, we believe we have the independent right to create truth according to our private perspective.  A perspective that floats around in murky shades of gray.

Guiness illustrates the modern mindset citing the story of 3 baseball umpires calling “balls” and “strikes” at home plate.
“There’s balls and there’s strikes,” says the 1st umpire, “and I call them the way they are!”
“No!” exclaims the 2nd umpire, “That’s arrogant.  There’s balls and there’s strikes and I call them the way I see it.”
“That’s no better,” says the 3rd.  “Why beat around the bush?  Why not be realistic about what we do?  There’s balls and there’s strikes and they ain’t nothing until I call them.”
Guiness explains. “The 1st umpire represents the traditional view of truth – objective, independent of the mind of the knower.  Truth that is discovered.  The 2nd umpire speaks for moderate relativism—truth “as each person sees it, according to his or her perspective and interpretation.  The 3rd umpire bluntly expresses the radically relativist – truth is not there to be discovered; it is for each of us to create for ourselves.”

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

The wisdom of the God-breathed-out Proverbs is to be discovered by us, not created by us.  A person  either fears the Lord, or is a fool.  No wonder Solomon pleads, “My son, do not forget my commandments.  Write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:1).
Come this Sunday to discover the truth which gives life – real life now and true life eternally.  See you Sunday!
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