Learn the meaning and value of wisdom and integrity
Wisdom, knowledge and Integrity. The meaning of these words is not always clear. Learning the difference between wisdom and knowledge and how we gain wisdom will help us to increase our integrity and become better people.
Wisdom and knowledge are often used synonymously, but there is a difference between the two. Knowing the differences between wisdom and knowledge will benefit us as individuals and our children as we teach them this difference. This knowledge can help us be better equipped to face life’s challenges. Throughout the world, there is a general belief of what wisdom is and how we gain it.
What is wisdom and knowledge?
The Bible teaches us in James 3:17, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Also, 1 Cor. 1:18-20 says “Wisdom of the wise and the wisdom of the world are two different things.” All wisdom comes from God.
All Knowledge comes from God also. The difference is that man’s knowledge changes as his understanding changes or when God’s knowledge is misinterpreted. An example of this is the theory of evolution. Years ago, the public schools in America taught that the earth was cooling and volcanos were becoming extinct. We see now that volcanic action is increasing. This disproves man’s previous knowledge.
“The basis of wisdom is fear of God. Fear should lead to hope, and hope should lead to love and all of this should ultimately lead to a level of beauteous perfection, where ultimately all things other than God are absent from one's heart.
How do we gain wisdom?
Wisdom of God is discerned through the Spirit and not from man.
“Even as we have sent unto you a messenger from among you, who recites unto you our revelations and causes you to grow, and teaches you the scripture and wisdom, and teaches you that which ye knew not.” (Al-Baqarah 2:155)
The first and highest gifts of the Holy Spirit. It makes the soul responsive to God in the contemplation of divine things. Where faith is a simple knowledge of the articles of Christian belief, wisdom goes on to a certain divine penetration of the truths themselves.
In John Milton’s literary work, Paradise Lost, he tells of Adam and Eve as they leave the Garden of Eden and enter the world and begin their search for wisdom.
Paraphrasing Milton’s poetry, Adam learns that to obey is best, to love and respect (fear) God, and to depend only on God. God is merciful and overcomes evil; that by small and weak things God accomplishes great things, overcoming evil. Suffering for truth’s sake will bring the greatest victory and those who remain faithful even to death will gain eternal life. His example was the Redeemer.
An Angel then spoke to Adam (paraphrasing again), Since you have learned and gained all wisdom, hope no higher, but add deeds to what knowledge you have received. Add faith, virtue, patience, temperance, love, and charity which is the center of all the others. Do these things and you will enjoy peace and be happiest.
What is Integrity?
Definition of Integrity in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is
Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility
An unimpaired condition: soundness
The quality or state of being complete or undivided: completeness
From all areas and religions, we learn that God is the source of all wisdom. Acting upon that wisdom is integrity. A person of integrity does not compromise moral principles, regardless of peer pressure, temptations, trials, or monetary opportunities.
Check your own integrity by answering this question, “Do you maintain your religious beliefs in all situations regardless of what they are?”
Wisdom can be gained in different ways but when we have wisdom we can recognize good from evil and act according to our knowledge. We can have knowledge and never use it, or we can misuse it. Wisdom is knowing the right path to take; integrity is taking that path.
It is important to begin each day by being honest with ourselves, and treating others with the same integrity we would like to receive.