"When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." (Proverbs 16:7)
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 16:25)
Those words were recorded from one of the wisest men who ever lived. God asked King Solomon to ask of him what he wanted more than anything else and he would grant it to him. The King’s response was the wisdom and knowledge that would be needed to lead his people.
If presented with similar circumstances today, many of us would undoubtedly ask for something far more personal and profitable. However, I am grateful that Solomon asked God for wisdom and that the results of his many wise decisions are recorded in scripture for our benefit.
Two of those profound and prophetic teachings are recorded in the Book of Proverbs where King Solomon highlights the consequences that occur from the "ways" we choose to live our lives.
Our "ways" can be interpreted as the conduct we display and how we behave ourselves daily. For many of us, "our ways" were formed and developed from the culture which we grew up in, which caused us to become "culturally conditioned." As a result, "our ways" are not actually "our ways" but they are the result of the conduct we adopted from the culture we grew up in, which can be classified as "learned behavior." Anything that is learned and considered unhealthy can be unlearned.
I am a firm believer that "our ways" develop to become the defining part of our character (mindsets/behaviors). They become embedded in us and form our cultural way of life. These "ways" are a part of our psychological profile.
The beneficial wisdom from King Solomon is that sometimes "our ways," (mindsets/behaviors/character traits) even when wrong, appear right to us and the results can lead to our demise — literally or figuratively.
Dr. Martin Luther King was quoted as saying "Nothing is more dangerous than, sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
I believe Dr. King wanted to convey the message that "sincerely ignorant" people are uneducated, unaware or uninformed, yet they truly believe that their "ways" are right.
"Conscientious stupidity" is the result of people that are aware of their lack of knowledge, and know they are wrong, but do nothing to change their ways.
My prayer for our nation is that we would all take a moment and consider our ways. While considering our mindsets/behaviors/character traits, we should remember King Solomon’s second branch of wisdom. "When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." (Proverbs 16:7)
We seem to be at a place where the soul of our nation is teetering on self-destruction because our country’s "ways" no longer please the Lord. Consequently, the strength that once made us the land of the free and the home of the brave is dissipating before our very eyes. There was a time when across the globe America was respected and viewed as a God-fearing nation.
Today, much of the perspective of who we are is far from that. I believe that if we are to make American great again, it will be because as a nation, we changed our ways and returned to the platform of "in God we trust." If we do that, then God will make even our enemies to be at peace with us.
Betton is pastor of Cathedral of Praise Church Ministries and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.