19Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city. 20Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. 21Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.
(Ecclesiastes 7:19-22 ESV)
In his writings, King Solomon has touted the benefits of wisdom. The implication is that wisdom is defined as coming from God. Wisdom is the result of learning from God the correct way to live. To that end, it gives strength to the wise.
Notice that those who are already wise benefit from wisdom. Those who are foolish do not [Proverbs 1:7, 23:9]. When we accept wisdom and become wiser than we were, we acquire more wisdom and become even wiser still. Just like money in the bank earns more money, wisdom begets more wisdom.
Having godly wisdom is better than human wisdom even the combined wisdom of many humans in leadership positions (rulers who are in a city). It is human leaders who are often (mistakenly) supposed to be the smartest and the brightest. Even all of them combined can’t come close in their understanding to God.
That is because all of them are broken. They are sinners. In fact, there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. The best people on earth who do the most good are not sinless. No one can live this side of heaven without sin. Anyone who thinks they are sinless deceives themselves [1 John 1:8].
For this reason we should not get upset when people wrong us. When others hurt us with what they say or by their actions we should not take such things to heart. We live in a broken world. Everyone is a sinner. We all hurt other people. This should not surprise us.
Frankly, if the entire world just believed this and acted accordingly we could reduce the problems on this earth tremendously. Much of our problems are caused by those who take offense to how they are treated and take reciprocal action. If we rather approach such offenses with the understanding that the offending party is a sinner and make allowances for such behavior the world would be a much, much better place. Guaranteed.
Not many of us want to do this, however, because we too are sinners. And this is King Solomon’s final point. The reason we should offer grace and forgiveness to those who offend us is that we know in our heart that we have done likewise.
All of us know in our heart that we too are sinners. We have hurt others just as much as they have hurt us. When we judge others we must never forget that we have our own faults [Matthew 7:1,3]. If we get upset when people hurt us, we are holding them to a higher standard than we hold ourselves to, because we are prone to do – and probably have done – the very same thing.
Being cognizant that we’ve sinned against other people and are in need of God’s forgiveness keeps us humble and can prevent us from being offended.
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