[Thought questions for Words of Wisdom February 17, 2015]
1. Products of our environment. Have you ever known a devoted, Christian family who adopted a child from a disruptive family? Did they believe they could overcome the errors of the youngster’s birth parents by firmly planting their feet in a Christian environment? Why doesn’t it always work out that way? What about you? Did you receive most of your personality traits and talents from your inherited traits or from what you have studied and learned? Does it matter?
2. We are all equal. Read that again! Are we all equal? How many ways can you think of that illustrating the equality of God’s children? Do you believe wholeheartedly in the concept that we are created by God and did not emerge from bits of matter that floated for billions of years? What comfort does the belief in a Creator God bring you? How do the Proverbs support this concept? How does the cross help explain the equality of man?
3. The test of life. In Proverbs 20:6 we find an overstatement of the human condition. Considering how far we have fallen since we first gave in to sin, why are we so self-centered? Does the person who believes in evolution as the cause of human life have more reason to be optimistic about his or her current condition? Why or why not? Why is the Christian who lives a long life of greater value to God’s plan than the martyr whose life ends at a young age? Should this thought modify the care we take of our bodies? Should we strive to live as long and healthy a life as is possible under the circumstances?
4. Waiting for the Lord. The thief gets his reward first, reaching for what he wants rather than making it or earning money to buy it. The verses cited toss out sinful ways of being enriched. Which of these is the most familiar to you in observing how people deal with others—deceit? haste? disrespect for parents? revenge? taking things into their own hands? If you get a raw deal, what advice might the speaker of proverbs have for you?
5. Compassion for the poor. Have you ever been poor? Down to the last few dollars and more bills piling up? Do you ever look the other way when the poverty of another family or individual becomes apparent? How easy is it to be glad you’re “luckier” than the poor in your midst? In Proverbs 22:2 is the poor person less valuable than the wealthy one? Regardless of our assets or our bank account, what do all of us have in common with the very rich? and the very poor? Why should this comfort us?
6. Child behavior and schooling. The proverbs don’t present an outline of study or a list of tips about childhood education, but what do they offer instead? How can we know the right way to “train up a child in the way he should go”? Is there a foolproof method of raising children for God? Won’t using the “rod of correction” get parents in trouble with the law these days? What are some ways that parents can discipline their children without causing them physical harm? Can we show our love even as we correct our children? How?
7. The final results. Are parents who raise cheerful, productive children eager to involve themselves in doing good work better than those who have child-raising problems? Do you know of children whose parents served difficult years overseas while they were youngsters but are now putting as much space as possible between themselves and religion and home? How careful should we be about blaming the parents when such disasters happen? Does God still love these children? Should we?