Solomon’s Wisdom And Our Over-Wisdom
“Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself?” (7: 16)
In the first reading of this verse we would doubt whether Solomon himself has written it. Is there a limit to righteousness? Is there a boundary to wisdom? Should righteousness and wisdom be moderated? Are these two really destructive?
Extreme religiosity based on blind adherence to rules, is what Solomon meant by ‘over-righteous’. Righteousness is misunderstood by some as unreasonable strictness and fanatical observance of man-made religious rules.
What is destructive about it? When the aged father desperately asks to be shifted to another position, the son/daughter hurriedly turns away saying , “ It’s time for prayer. Wait till I finish my prayer.” When you are about to leave for the church for Sunday worship, you find a poor man at the gate asking for alms. You will turn him away rebuking him ,for coming at that time. The church leader will vehemently oppose in the church committee, the application of a poor man for financial assistance for his daughter’s wedding, saying that the applicant seldom attends the church services.
- Over-wise. As one grows in knowledge s/he starts assuming that she knows everything and needs no one’s advice. That is over-wisdom. At this stage she will start questioning God. She will try to judge God’s plan through his/her ‘infallible’ wisdom. And this wisdom will lead him to the conclusion that you need no God at all.
The danger: Your plans may fail one after another. Even your own children may go astray .Family can break up . By the time you realise that your own wisdom has not come to your rescue at any point, you will already be in the fathomless depths of hopelessness and despair.
Let us pray to God to give us a tender heart full of righteousness and wisdom without being over-righteous and over-wise.
George Joseph Trivandrum.