#DailyProverbs 1: 29-33 “You have never had any use for knowledge and have always refused to obey the Lord. You have never wanted my advice or paid any attention when I corrected you. So then, you will get what you deserve, and your own actions will make you sick. Inexperienced people die because they reject wisdom. Stupid people are destroyed by their own lack of concern. But whoever listens to me will have security. He will be safe, with no reason to be afraid.”
Pretty harsh stuff… or is it?
Many Christians of the conservative variety often use Proverbs as a warning, or more sadly, as a weapon. But I don’t think Solomon, nor David, meant it that way. At all. And while I believe that there should be a firm separation between Church and State, I also think that personal faith does direct how we interact with the world around us. Personal faith drives how we live, how we treat people, how we vote, how we work, and how we make our decisions. No? Well, think that if you want – but your personal faith, or lack thereof, directly affect your hour-to-hour daily life.
Your character, your morality, your perception – they are all driven by your faith. Or for some, your professed lack of faith. Abrahamic religions (the main big three with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) definitely lay out scriptural reference to character traits to which followers should aspire. Atheists – while not following scripture, may follow moral codes that prevent things such as murder, theft, law, science… Agnostics may question the ability to know a God, still follow the laws of man and still abide by law and ethics. Which brings me to my point: We, as a people, need to know what we believe, and seek knowledge and truth about it.
That being said, I lay a foundation for my platform today: I encourage you to research your faith, know your faith, and with wisdom and love, practice your faith. Merely “hearing” others talk about it, or [correctly or incorrectly] regurgitating what you’ve been told or “raised with” doesn’t suffice. Faith is a personal thing that you live, not just a book you dust off when you need it. Maybe you don’t agree with how I live my life – that’s my personal faith at work. And that’s my responsibility to my God and me to work out. Maybe you think that others have it wrong. There is nothing wrong with responsibly and respectfully sharing your faith – I do that daily. But others have a responsibility to their knowledge of God and themselves to work out. They have to live their faith. Maybe you have friends that don’t accept ANY religion’s “faith.” That, too, is their prerogative and they have to live their personal belief structure and be responsible TO and FOR themselves.
There is nothing more sad than to remain purposefully ignorant due to comfort. Study your faith. Know your faith. Know your beliefs and WHY you believe them. Proverbs tells both Jews and Christians that we are to covet, love, and seek out wisdom, understanding and truth. It also tells us that there are consequences for our actions. That’s true of everyone, and is a great common denominator in the world. If you touch something hot, you get burned. You may get seriously hurt – but you probably won’t do it more than once. If you do, well… then don’t heed wisdom and earn your consequences. If you don’t study for a test, you won’t pass. If you don’t perform at work, you likely won’t keep that job very long. If you don’t interact and care for your relationships, they probably won’t last. If you lie, you will get called a liar. If you steal, you will be known as a thief. If you allow your fellow man and neighbors to suffer and go without, you will probably not be rewarded or helped when YOUR turn comes…
I don’t think that every bad thing happens to someone as a result of some “evil” they’ve done – but I do think that the MAJORITY of the problems we have as a human race are a direct result of our OWN actions or inactions.
Be informed. Be active in your search for knowledge. Gain wisdom, if possible. But don’t take everyone – even or especially me – at face value. Challenge ideas, read and learn, practice an active faith that involves you and encourages you and causes a reaction in you. You won’t ever regret doing that. You will, however, regret NOT doing that.