Do Not Be Wise in Your Own Eyes

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Do not be wise in your own eyes. Proverbs 3:7

One summer evening just as the sun was setting, the Lord painted the most beautiful Oklahoma sky. I was standing in a room at church ready to receive children for small group time. One of the children ran into the room and excitedly asked if we could just watch the sunset because God had made it so beautiful. I said no because we had to get through a lesson and I demanded their attention be turned to me.

In that moment, I was unteachable. I had already viewed the sunset and had seen plenty of them already in my lifetime. There was nothing any child could say to deter me from getting through the lesson I had spent time preparing to give.

Recently, one of my children was having a moment of emotional sensitivity, but I did not have time for that moment. It ended with my husband attempting to guide me off the “I do not have time for this” ledge as my child looked on completely broken.

In that moment, I was unteachable.

Both of these moments have one thing in common – pride. In both of them I lacked wisdom, but my pride assured me I was lacking nothing. As we gain knowledge and exhibit good judgment, we are tempted to hold tightly to the notion that we, in and of ourselves, know what is best in any given situation. Therefore, seeking wisdom from others is no longer needed. The truth is however, there is no wisdom apart from God.

In the case of the interaction with my child, the schedule in my head did not factor in an emotional struggle. Cue the nagging momma barking instructions and to-do lists, when all the while I was completely aware of the fragile emotional state of this precious child. When my husband confronted me with the blaring truth that I had gone astray, I shut him down immediately. Being wise in my own eyes meant we all were going to push through this moment of sensitivity and get things done. Period. No room for correction and no room to be told otherwise. That, my friends, is pride in its finest form. And pride produces unteachable hearts.

How do we as parents cultivate teachable hearts in our homes? First, it begins with us and knowing what God has to say about pride.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 (ESV)

Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom in found in those who take advice. Proverbs 13:10 (NIV)

Do you see a man [who is unteachable and] wise in his own eyes and full of self-conceit? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 26:12 (AMP)

Taking our cue from Proverbs 26:12, we can ask ourselves questions like these to help answer whether we are on a path to an unteachable heart:

  • Do we approach others openly to learn from them?
  • Are we seeking to learn from Scripture and other solid teaching resources?
  • Are we slow to speak and quick to listen?
  • Are we more concerned about what we can teach others before considering what they may teach us?
  • Do we approach struggles with a mindset of learning more about God and who he is?

Second, we need to assess what place we allow pride to have in our daily lives. If we allow pride to guide us, our relationships will become difficult in ordinary everyday interactions because pride often masquerades as wisdom. Consequently, our relationships are marked with conflict, bitterness and dissension (Proverbs 11:2). However, humility fosters peace, unity, and a willingness to serve the Lord and one another. There we will find that God faithfully honors humility with his gift of true wisdom.

Lastly, we need to consistently confront pride within ourselves and our home with love and truth (Ephesians 4:11-16). Pride is the thorny bush that chokes out the seedling, while humility is the good soil that produces the fruitful plant (Matthew 13:22-23). Throughout Scripture, God clearly speaks his disdain for pride. But God does not just give us a picture of what not to do. Instead, he continues to guide us to a teachable heart through the sacrifice of His son.

Christ humbled himself to death on a cross not for boasting as a man, but as an obedient son for the glory of the Father (Philippians 2:5-8). This passage goes on to reveal the reward found in humility:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

In Christ we can have confidence that a teachable heart produced through humility is faithfully exalted by God. Parents, we need to be the first example our children can look to for living the wisdom-filled life of a teachable heart.

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