“A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.”
When I first read this verse, I thought “This is not how our world approaches a man of wisdom versus a man with a perverse heart.”
As of 2012 we can see a stark difference in how people see others.
Many people compare the 44th US President, Barack Obama, with the 40th US President, Ronald Reagan. Most Republicans view Reagan as one of the greatest leaders in American history, but most Democrats think he did horribly. Most Democrats view Obama as a great leader, but most Republicans think he has done horribly.
Depending on who you discuss these men with, they are either as seen as wise and adored or wicked and despised.
Looking farther back, however, we see two different men generally respected. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President, is touted by both political parties as one of their own (even though he was the first Republican President), because he led the nation through a horrible civil war that helped free slaves (to an extent, at least). The other President, the 35th, John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, is also generally seen as a wise leader. He managed to handle the Cuban Missile Crisis and balance the Federal Budget. Both men were assassinated.
Both men had faults – no one denies that. These men also were able to lead well during difficult times through wisdom.
People generally have good qualities, even the worst of us, but it may be harder for some people to see them.
Sadly, we see this kind of division within the Church, as well.
There are strong leaders who are not known by most people. There are nearly demonic leaders revered by the masses. There are people all throughout the spectrum in between and reversed.
Most of us know names like Billy Graham and John Stott. We also know names like Fred Phelps of Westboro “Baptist Church” and Jim Bakker of “Praise the Lord” fame. The first set are seen as great, holy men of God. The second set are seen as wicked and … perverse.
There are men and women throughout the Church who fall under these descriptions.
We must show grace to all, because even the best of us are weak at times (Even the Apostle Paul admitted so in Romans 7). Trust is always earned, but we must still show love. (There are other posts for discussing the reasons we fail)
Our wise King, give us wisdom to tell the difference between wise and perverse leaders. Help us grow in wisdom that we may be loved and respected, to Your glory.