Proverbs 12:5 ESV
The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
How much does somebody’s character matter when you’re considering their advice? Intelligence and knowledge don’t correlate well with moral character (though wisdom does), but the idea that since somebody is smart, he must be worth listening to is nevertheless a common temptation. This verse warns against such foolishness.
Moral character is very important when taking counsel from others. You cannot trust that a man of evil character will speak the truth to you; further, even if he does speak the truth, you cannot trust his judgement to be sound. People act upon what they believe, and at the core of everybody’s beliefs are a few central propositions, the ideas from which all else springs in some way or another. Even if nobody recognizes these presuppositions, they are important.
For the righteous, these presuppositions can include the infallibility of God’s word, the fundamentals of Christianity, and a devotion to the cause of goodness, truth, and beauty.
For the wicked, these presuppositions are broken and twisted. Perhaps he holds fairness higher than justice or his own prosperity higher than the life of others; perhaps his problems are more subtle, harder to discover and understand. Nevertheless, fallen man has a twisted and broken understanding of the world, and therefore a twisted and broken approach to living in the world.
Of course, no man save Christ is wholly righteous, and even the most wicked usually have some gleam of truth which their delusions have not eradicated. The apostle Peter struggled with the displeasure of his fellow Jews (Galatians 2:11-14); Hitler still recognized the beauty of the natural world. This part is where discretion becomes important.
Discretion is the virtue of telling right from wrong, foolish from wise, and trustworthy from untrustworthy, not just in the abstract but in the complicated and mundane. Are the words you hear the just thoughts of the righteous? Are they the deceitful counsels of the wicked? With God’s help and the counsel of that infallible advisor, the Bible, as well as the aid of those you know to be wiser than yourself, even the more difficult situations can be made clear.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.