Nobody likes the bearer of bad news

Isn’t that truth?  Even when that news is accurate, truthful, and tactfully presented, there is a resistance people feel against the person who gives you the bad news.

Maybe it’s a friend who’s telling you the truth about how you’re acting in a situation.  Perhaps it’s a boss telling you the proposal needs additional work because it didn’t cover everything.  Consider a doctor telling you if you don’t lose weight, you’ll develop severe health problems.

Just because it’s wise doesn’t mean we want to hear it.  But just because we don’t want to hear it doesn’t mean we don’t need to hear it.

Still, we show the greatest love to people when we provide any wisdom we possess (of course, this implies humility but that’s part of wisdom).

King Solomon observed a similar phenomenon he recorded in Ecclesiastes 9:13-18.

13 I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me: 14 There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siege works against it. 15 Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. 16 So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded. 17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

Ecclesiastes 9:13-18

Now this poor, wise man was not the bearer of bad news—at least not in the grand scheme.  His wisdom saved an entire city!  Yet, time gave the people amnesia and soon his very wisdom was disregarded by the foolishness of others.

There’s no doubt how the Great Teacher of Israel feels about Wisdom.  Nor is there doubt how the Lord feels about wisdom.  It’s our foolishness struggling with it.  But our foolishness doesn’t make the wise unwise.

In our culture, wisdom is often suspect.  We reject the absolutes that wise people bring to a situation.  For example, when you present a complicated set of circumstances to someone who is truly wise, they can often reduce it down to two or three options.  Their ability to simplify the complex can cause us to distrust their advice.

We might feel we really didn’t explain it correctly (and perhaps we didn’t).  We might feel they are dismissing us (if they’re wise, they probably aren’t).  Most of all, we may wish we’d thought of that first.

Those are learning moments.  Because often the options they present are not easy or simple in implementation.  Yet, we have a temptation to “shoot the messenger” and shout them down in our minds.

Don’t do it!  Don’t despise the words of the wise.  Don’t hate the messenger for telling you the way it is.  Instead, ask questions.  Learn.  Be patient.  Be still.  And be very thankful the Lord has put someone like that in your life.

Let their wisdom raise their esteem in your heart.  And one day, may we be blessed enough to be like them.