In the World–August 30, 2020

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As schools in the West head toward reopening for the fall semester, they would do well not to take the advice that proved harmful in Israel. With the first wave of COVID-19 cases trending nicely downward, the counsel from the government, including the prime minister himself, was to be smart but otherwise “Go out and have a good time.” When schools began, windows were kept open to improve fresh air circulation. But when it got hot outside, the government exempted everyone from wearing masks for four days and allowed schools to shut their windows. The decision was disastrous, as the nation had its largest outbreak of the coronavirus and had to close schools and businesses across the country. The advice that came from humans, especially based on comfort, sounded good but resulted in calamity.


James tells us that the wisdom that comes from above—that is, from God—is pure, promotes peace, and results in mercy and good fruit. Wisdom from below produces strife, envy, competitiveness, and selfish ambition. Our world produces advice that is focused on exalting the individual, and this leads to strife. God’s wisdom is focused on exalting God and loving others, and this leads to blessing.

  1. When have you taken advice that sounded good but resulted in disaster?
  2. What’s an example of worldly wisdom that results in conflict or harm?
  3. How have you seen wise advice lead to peace and love in your life?

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