Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:13-18 NIV
As I review scripture, seeking a Word from The Lord, I often come across passages that speak to me more clearly from one translation to the other, but I also find that sometimes, one word–changed–can change the meaning of what is being said.
We know that James was conscious of what happens when we say the wrong things or allow our tongues free reign in our live. The 13th verse of this passage from the King James Version reminds us of this:“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”
What we say should have a purpose–a purpose towards building and not tearing down. Yesterday, at a luncheon geared towards mentoring our young people, some were asked, “What do you want adults to know about kids today?” The more I thought about it, the more I realized that adults seldom consider what kids are thinking and we tend to dismiss their thoughts and feelings simply because they are kids.
We ask them questions, but our reactions to them inhibit getting a true response from them. This happens when we don’t give them time to think about what they want to say and since they don’t respond as quickly as we want them to respond, we dismiss their positions without hearing it.
I’ve concluded that many of us tend to “talk at” kids rather than “talk to” them. This conclusion is made based upon the fact that we if don’t know how to have a conversation with them and converse with a purpose, we are talking at them. When we interrupt them or cut them short–dismissing what they have to say before they have a chance to say it, we’re talking at them, not to them.
The kids are wiser than we are in this regard in that they simply shut down and have nothing else to say. Why? We have shown them we have no respect for what they have to say and then we wonder why they don’t respect what we have to say.
Truly, we need wisdom from above to give us purpose when we converse with our young people. The more we think about how God responds to us, the more we should attempt to be more like Him, no matter who we’re conversing with. If God cut us off whenever we attempted to talk to Him, where would we be?
We need to learn to converse with kids and others with a purpose–talking to them, not at them, and waiting patiently to hear what they have to say. Who is wise, with understanding?