Open to Reason – Part 2

Posted on February 27, 2009 · Posted in Communication, Parenting, Teenagers

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We are looking at the sharp contrast that the book of James
makes between two kinds of wisdom , earthly wisdom and wisdom from above. The
difference is sharp and distinct. This, of course, has to be the case since the
source of earthly wisdom is demonic and the source of wisdom from above is the
Holy Spirit. James does not offer a third type of wisdom, wisdom from the
middle. It is only one of the two. That means the stakes are high. One type of
wisdom leads to war, the other to peace. Read this section in James again in that
light.

Who is wise and understanding among
you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14But
if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast
and be false to the truth. 15This is not the wisdom that comes down
from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16For where
jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile
practice. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable,
gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18And
a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  James 3:13-18 (ESV)

This passage is the reason I asked you to consider carefully
the admonition to be "open to reason" in the last post. The call to
be open to reason fits with the challenge that James gives in verse 13. If your
desire is to be wise and understanding, then you must show this through a wise
spirit of meekness. Too often,  especially when there is conflict with
teenagers, parenting comes down to insisting on being right. But you must be
more than right. James is just as concerned about being “right” as you are. The
difference is that God wants you to show wisdom that is so remarkable it can
only be attributed to the work of God. Anyone can argue that he is right. But
only a Christian acting in the humility of wisdom from above can demonstrate
grace that goes beyond being right. Wisdom from above is the only way to
present the grace of the gospel in trying situations. Anyone can be "right"
about an issue, while responding with hurt, resentment, or stubbornness in the
midst of conflict. But only a Christian, humbly loving Christ more than himself,
can put off the resentment and stubbornness, and reach through the hurt to show
compassion. Only a Christian clinging to the wisdom that comes from above can
be truly open to reason.

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