5Wisdom brings strength,
and knowledge gives power.
6Battles are won
by listening to advice
and making a lot of plans.
Most of life is handled best without fighting. Outcomes where everybody wins are preferable to outcomes where one side (or everyone!) loses. Yet tense situations abound. How can we navigate them to maximize everyone’s welfare and minimize destructive strife? We use the resources of knowledge available to us with wisdom. Let’s learn from an army. An effective army “listens to advice.” They scout the territory and become aware of enemy movements and preparations. They assess the number of opposing soldiers and the quality of their weaponry. They then make plans: a primary plan for the battle, but also plans that may account for surprises or setbacks to which they can make a coordinated response, if needed. Many battles have started out poorly for the eventual victors, but have turned around through effective provisional plans. Acting on available knowledge and deploying resources with wisdom bring strength and power in the battlefield. An army whose only strategy is to rush wildly ahead will be defeated.
We can apply these principles in our lives for very different purposes. To maximize outcomes that build community we can gather information and listen carefully to understand different perspectives. We can make plans to address sensitive points to create a potential “win-win” scenario and even create several scenarios to deal with different contingencies. We can discover available resources and deploy them with wisdom. Initially this approach involves more work than rushing wildly ahead does; but in the end it is far more constructive. And who needs the continued heartache of unresolved tension or of destruction?
Prince of Peace, who provides us with resources and abilities intended to enable us to flourish, forgive our wildly rushing about and slow us down so we can assess conflicts and apply your wisdom to the benefit of all parties and to the glory of our Lord Jesus. Amen.