Proverbs 2:7 (New Living Translation)
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
Have you ever heard someone say, “that’s just common sense”? This phrase usually follows someone making a choice that seems obviously unwise or ridiculous. It is like saying “who wouldn’t know that was a bad idea”? Common sense is defined as having sound practical judgment about everyday matters, having a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge that is shared by most people. Having this ability is invaluable. This verse from Proverbs describes it as a “treasure”. But like many treasures, common sense can get buried and forgotten. In the case of common sense it is often buried in an avalanche of excuses about why we can’t make some change. This proverb points out that in order to think clearly you have to be willing to be honest with yourself.
There are things about ourselves that we just don’t like to admit. Like when our motives are selfish, or when we are jealous. Often instead of recognizing these things we start to make excuses about why we aren’t selfish, or jealous. When we start lying to ourselves in order to excuse behaviors and explain away our need to change, we have to do some pretty “creative” explaining. We tell ourselves “they deserved that”, or “I can’t help it they just made me so angry I had to (behave that way, say those harsh words etc)”. These kinds of statements imply an inability to change, or a powerlessness to make any other choice. Hey, I had to make my co worker look bad in front of the boss because (fill in your own excuse), what else could I do? Of course we aren’t powerless, and we can and do make decisions to change, when we want to. It is that “want to” that is often the barrier to change.
The Want To
When we excuse our poor choices we are slowly drowning out the voice of reason, and squashing “the want to” because we are convincing ourselves we don’t need to change. One excuse after another piles up, burying the “want to”, and slowly covering up the treasure of common sense. Deep down we know that we could have made another choice, so to continue excusing a poor choice we have to start denying the obvious and offering up more and more excuses. When common sense is buried we lose the opportunity to use reason and to recognize what needs to change. This leads to less choice and more blaming, hopelessness, and frustration. Without this treasure our judgement becomes ever poorer.
So how do we find this treasure if it’s buried? One of the ways our “want to” can be uncovered is by simply recognizing our need to change. Be honest with yourself. This tells you where you need to dig. What is it that you need to work on, what do you need to change? Do you need to be less selfish, more assertive? Are you a procrastinator, do you need to be more thoughtful? Recognizing what you need to work on is the key to finding your treasure.