The Hebrew book of Proverbs is considered wisdom literature. In my faith tradition wisdom is understood as an attribute of God that He used to create the world. God’s wisdom brings about a natural order of things so that whenever people are making good decisions they tap into what the Scriptures call wisdom. When people make bad decisions they are working against wisdom. For example:
“Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor.”Proverbs 31:8-9
Here lately I’ve heard people say, “Let’s just get along and stop bickering.” I want that too. I’m exhausted and weary from it all. But here’s the problem. As long as there are people in society whose voices are discounted, standing makes them vulnerable, or face oppressive or dehumanizing policies, it is wise to speak out and take action.
When you speak out someone will be offended and speak back. When you take action someone will defend and justify their own. We cannot be surprised or alarmed. Fear, anxiety, exclusion, violence, scapegoating, and power-grabbing are the rules that set the agenda for what the Christian Scriptures call the reign of sin and death.
Sometimes godly wisdom pushes you into hard conversations you’d prefer not to have and actions you’d rather not take. But to not speak or take action is unwise and passively works against God’s wisdom. To not speak or take action is to become complicit to reign of sin and death and miss out on participating in the embodiment Christ’s reign at work in society.
It is wise for Christians to speak out and take action. I only must remember that if my interpretation of wisdom fails to look like the words and actions heard and seen in Jesus, it probably isn’t reflective of God’s wisdom, because “All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him.” (Colossians 2:3)