I set the lady straight via e-mail—no punches pulled. Just the facts, ma’am. Others were gossiping online about her alleged unethical actions, and I thought she should know about it (after all, I would want to know). I didn’t bother with the whole tact thing. Just typed and hit “send”—grim righteousness without love, clouds without rain, surgery without anesthesia.
The false security of my computer screen vanished as the recipient went ballistic, and the e-mail went public. No use to protest, “But she didn’t ask my permission to publish it online.” The feathers have exited the pillow, Elvis has left the building, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put the nail back onto the horse’s shoe. My kingdom for a horse … or a bird. “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest” (Ps. 55:6).
I had to apologize to an online group of over 200 people, some of whom I have known (online and/or in person) for five years. If only I had prayed first, taken a few beats (and a few drafts), and then given it a go. Maybe my words would have been more like “apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Prov. 25:11) rather than like the “piercings of a sword” (Prov. 12:18).
Having explored the “meekness of wisdom” in James 3:13 and drawn out the possible reasons wisdom should lead to meekness (Part 1), with James we now contrast the wisdom from below with the wisdom from above.
James singles out meekness as the chief external virtue that shows forth wisdom, and he immediately contrasts this godly meekness with self-seeking factionalism. “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory [boast] not, and lie not against the truth” (3:14, KJV). In other words, if on the inside you have self-seeking instead of wisdom, your modus operandi is going to include a lot of boasting, politicking, muscling, wheeling and dealing, and whatever it takes. This boastful bullheadedness is a tell-tale sign of bitter envy and strife. C’mon, says James. Who are you kidding? Don’t lie against the truth. Anyone who is boasting in his so-called “wisdom” only betrays the fact that he has no true wisdom. Mental acumen is not the same thing as wisdom; in the hands of a self-seeker, mental acumen is a dangerous, deceptive faculty. If you want to be taken seriously as a wise man, be meek. The alternative is ugly.
Wheaton professor Alan Jacobs has an article in Christianity Today every SI member should read.
“Debate after debate—on almost every site I visit, including the ones devoted to Christianity—either escalates from rational discourse into sneering and name-calling or just bypasses reason altogether and starts with the abuse.”
“The blogosphere is the friend of information but the enemy of thought.”