Guest blogger: Joe Barone - Proverbs & Politicians

Recently, I’ve been doing a devotional, reading and re-reading the Book of Proverbs, covering 31 Proverbs in 31 days. Dealing with the subject of wisdom, Proverbs was written by King Solomon of Israel, David’s son. It’s filled with instructions on how to live a life pleasing to God and being more at peace in the fallen world we live in. Solomon wrote these proverbs “to teach his people how to live—how to act in every circumstance, for he wanted them to be understanding, just, and fair in everything they did” (Proverbs 1:2-3, The Living Bible). Spending lengthy time in Proverbs has convicted me of certain areas of my life where I’ve fallen short. I had best take heed of this instruction in God’s word, especially since He led me there! I also got to thinking of a group of prominent individuals who could benefit from reading the Book of Proverbs. Who, you ask? Politicians, of course.

Election Day, Tuesday November 5th, is months away. Televised debates highlighting suitable challengers to our current President have already begun. The candidates duel in debate format, trying to convince us they are the best choice as a presidential candidate. Some tell lies. Some get ill-tempered. Some make biting comments about their rivals. Most will ramble on, ignoring and exceeding the allotted time assigned for comments and responses. After individual state primaries are over, the candidate field narrows considerably. Watching completed debates, debate highlights (and lowlights), nightly TV news coverage, and reading print media of the present president’s and potential candidates’ speeches and comments have been both enlightening and painful. For men and women who should be working together for the good of the country and its people, they put on a shameful display of mutual dislike and even hatred for one another all in the attempt to sell themselves to us as being the best of the best at the expense of the other presidential hopefuls. Inevitably some candidates drop out of the race because they finish a distant 3rd, 4th or 5th in the state primaries. They then throw support to their most recent, nasty adversary and become buddy buddy again. Thankfully, soon these candidate-to-be side shows, although important, will be over. Then we will endure the presidential and vice-presidential debates leading up to Election Day in November.

Before the next debate is scheduled, speech given, or comment tweeted, the politicians jockeying for the top positions in our government should be required to read, study and practice what is written in the Book of Proverbs. It would be great if the presidential hopefuls, whether ladies or gentlemen, considered these Proverbs as they continue campaigning on the road to become president. The verses listed below are from The Living Bible Translation:

1) Don’t talk so much. You keep putting your foot in your mouth. Be sensible and turn off the flow! (Proverbs 10:19)
2) Lies will get any man into trouble, but honesty is its own defense. Telling the truth gives a man great satisfaction, and hard work returns many blessings to him. (Proverbs 12:13-14)
3) A fool thinks he needs no advice, but a wise man listens to others.  A fool is quick-tempered; a wise man stays cool when insulted. (Proverbs 12:15-16)
4) Some people like to make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise soothe and heal. (Proverbs 12:18)
5) Self-control means controlling the tongue! A quick retort can ruin everything. (Proverbs 13:3)
6) The wise man looks ahead. The fool attempts to fool himself and won’t face facts. (Proverbs 14:8)
7) Only a simpleton believes everything he’s told! A prudent man understands the need for proof. (Proverbs 14:15)
8) A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause quarrels. (Proverbs 15:1)
9) If you profit from constructive criticism, you will be elected to the wise men’s hall of fame. But to reject criticism is to harm yourself and your own best interests. (Proverbs 15:31-32)
10) Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight. (Proverbs 18:17)
11) A wise man restrains his anger and overlooks insults. This is to his credit. (Proverbs 19:11)
12) It is an honor for a man to stay out of a fight. Only fools insist on quarreling. (Proverbs 20:3)
13) Throw out the mocker, and you will be rid of tension, fighting, and quarrels. (Proverbs 22:10)
14) Get the facts at any price, and hold on tightly to all the good sense you can get. (Proverbs 23:23)
15) Be patient and you will finally win, for a soft tongue can break hard bones. (Proverbs 25:15)
16) Telling lies about someone is as harmful as hitting him with an ax, or wounding him with a sword, or shooting him with a sharp arrow. (Proverbs 25:18)
17) Don’t brag about your plans for tomorrow—wait and see what happens. Don’t praise yourself; let others do it! (Proverbs 27:1-2)
18) When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily; but with honest, sensible leaders there is stability. (Proverbs 28:2)
19) There’s no use arguing with a fool. He only rages and scoffs, and tempers flare. (Proverbs 29:9)
20) A rebel shouts in anger; a wise man holds his temper in and cools it. (Proverbs 29:11)

Want more? There are plenty more where these came from. Check out The Book of Proverbs for yourself. I trust you will agree, that the godly instruction gleaned from Solomon’s Proverbs goes a long way in teaching us about areas of wisdom lacking in our own lives and in the lives of office-seeking politicians.
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