A lot of people desire to be wise and discerning. Many of us want to have the kind of wisdom that enables us to see things ahead of our time; to discern what will happen when everybody else cannot yet see it. No doubt, that is a very good gift.
However, it comes with tremendous challenges, pain, and suffering.
Many insightful scientists who saw things ahead of their times and discovered life-changing principles were rejected by the peers in the scientific community and sometimes by society at large. Some were ostracized or killed for telling the truth. Decades after they died in sorrow, everybody realized that they were right. They started celebrating them and naming things after them, but they were gone. They died in pain!
So, before we desire that kind of deep insight and wisdom to see things light years before others do, we may first want to desire humility, courage, tolerance, a self-sacrificing spirit, and conflict resolution and peacemaking skills. We will need these things to make sure our wisdom and giftedness don’t ruin us.
If you can see and understand things much faster than your bosses does, don’t be surprised that you can be fired from your job if you are not very tactful. When you try to show your boss that you are right, you might be perceived as a know it all, an unteachable and disrespectful person. Even if they discover later that you were right, they won’t rehire you and many won’t even admit that you were right because of their ego or simply because they were too offended to open their minds. When people are offended, they automatically close their minds.
A wise person needs to learn restraint because knowing the answer to someone’s problems doesn’t mean you are invited to answer. And restraint isn’t easy.
Imagine being very wise, truly knowing the answers that will help people improve their lives. But when you try to teach people how to do things better, no one listens to you. In fact, they may criticize and insult you. It hurts to know the truth and see others doing the wrong thing, refusing to listen to what you know is right. It hurts more when they laugh at you, mock you, ostracize you when you are right and they are wrong but they simply haven’t seen the truth yet.
You would have to be a very loving and forgiving person who can put aside this hurt and still live a good life and respect the people around you who genuinely think they are right and you are wrong.
Can you imagine being the only doctor among 100 reputable doctors who has discovered a new treatment that will prevent a certain serious disease if they take it for a few years? Your 99 colleagues disagree with you, some accuse you of trying to hurt your patients and enrich yourself. Others say you are just trying to be famous and don’t care about helping people, yet deep inside you are only trying to help patients. In fact, they can recommend that you be barred from practicing medicine, that your license should be revoked.
It’s very easy for smartness to destroy a person. To handle serious wisdom, you need character with the strength of steel. You need love, grace, and forgiveness like the oceans. Otherwise, the more wisdom you have, the quicker you’ll burn to death. The sooner you will be crucified.
My advice? Before you seek wisdom, seek the character to contain that wisdom.
Also remember, there is a price to be paid for using wisdom. And I’m not talking about the price of acquiring it since wisdom often comes free of charge. A lot of us who want wisdom have not taken the time to count the costs.
Here are a few things that being wise might cost you:
- You will lose friends. If you become wise, many of your foolish friends will leave you because, all of a sudden, you think so differently than they do.
- You will not enjoy doing some of the things you used to do because you will see things so much better that you realize that those things you used to enjoy were not good for you. And this won’t be easy.
- People will crucify you, ostracize you, insult you, call you names when you are right.
- You may get fired from a job if you are not very careful.
- You will have to work hard to develop a strong character to contain your wisdom or be destroyed. Wisdom always comes free of charge, but character doesn’t come free. You have to work hard to develop character.
- Your heart will break and hurt when you see things going wrong around you, know how to fix it, but people won’t listen to you or let you help them get our of their pain.