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Seeking Wisdom, Day 2 -Determine Character

January 25, 2016

(Proverbs 2: 20) Follow the steps of good men, and stay on the path of righteousness.

Solomon gives good advice, but how do I determine who is a good man or woman? I  have not noticed any stamp or mark on a person’s countenance to identify his character. One’s  goodness or greatness are largely unknown unless he is boastful, and that does not make goodness. I can only guess who is good and who is evil, and pray I am correct.

Perhaps we could observe and analyze acquaintances as we do the characters in literature; by what they do, what they say, and what others say about them. This is easy in literature, for the writer shows us, and we get to know each person with his characteristics firmly attached. We like Atticus in To Kill A Mockingbird and find him so changed to be unlikable in Go Set a Watchman. 

Determining goodness is not easy. We can ask God for an understanding heart and for insight as Solomon did. But often people have dual personalities, perhaps a private persona or face and a public persona such as Charles Dickens shows us in Great Expectations. Wemmick is one such man in the legal office, his workplace, and another man at home, and Pip is astonished as Wemmick changes his personality. In the office Wemmick reveals his dark side when he expropriates the savings of the prisoners the office  defends. In his home, a small castle like structure surrounded by a moat and a small drawbridge, he is cheerful and pleasant, obviously enjoying the company of his very “aged” and deaf father. “Give him a nod,” Wemmick tells Pip. The aged one is delighted to “nod” back and the two exchange nods in a delightful way. Later Wemmick fires off a small cannon, shaking the timbers so that the old man is delighted with the experience. Is Wemmick “good”? Sometimes. Is Wemmick bad? Other times. That seems to be the case with many of us. Choosing associates requires much observation and keeping a moral code of our own.

Proverbs continues. The Lord grants wisdom and common sense to the honest, shields those who walk with integrity, and protects the faithful. To secure wisdom pray for insight and beg for understanding.

 

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