Are you more concerned about your own actions or the actions of others? Today's proverb offers us some pretty heady stuff about the way a wise man thinks about things in life. There is great wisdom for us today if we will open ourselves to what God has to say to us.
Here we read that the sensible man has wisdom. To be sensible is to be shrewd and prudent. So a prudent man has wisdom to offer to us today. That wisdom is this, to understand one's own way. It is wise to be able to understand ourselves. This word, "understand" means to discern and perceive. The one who understands himself pays attention to what he himself does. He watches himself far more than he does others. This is not a selfish thing - but rather a desire to grasp why one does the things they do. This man takes a close look at where his actions and attitudes lead him. He looks at his own way - but only so that he can understand where he has gotten himself. He then uses this information for the purpose of change and growth. He studies himself to gain wisdom on how an attitude change - a change in actions - a change in how he speaks - can help him to be a better person. In the context of the Bible - he also does this so he can walk with God more closely and honor Him better in all that he does. He examines himself, considers himself, and after doing this he considers what is right - what is his duty and his responsibility - and then he goes about doing it regardless of what others say or do.
This wise man wants to know his own way because he fully grasps that he is the only one he can change. He is not quick to blame others and fault others for his problems. He takes responsibility for himself. This is one of the best ways to improve your mental health. If you are forever blaming everyone else for your problems, you will rarely change - and - you will be filled with bitterness and unforgiveness. You will view yourself as a perennial victim of others. The sum total of who you are will only be what others have done to you. You will think that your own actions don't matter - or have real consequences because you see all your problems as someone else's fault. Oh, and by the way, you will also be a fool who lacks any real wisdom.
The foolishness of fools is deceit. This is the second half of this proverb. The fool is focused on deceit. Simply put, the fool lies. He lies to others. He does not want to understand his own way - because he is too busy making up what he would like his own way to be. He seeks to manipulate others - not himself. He uses lies and deceit to dupe others into believing he really is not responsible for his own actions. When caught in a lie - he will use another lie to get out of his difficult circumstances. Most of all, he lies to himself. Every bad thing that happens is someone else's fault. Every problem is due to someone else. His shortcomings are the fault of others who did not do enough to equip and train him properly. He will never change because he honestly does not see the need for it in his own conduct. If others had only done their part, his actions or words or laziness or inactivity would not have mattered. In the end, though, people grow tired of his blame game. Figuring he is either not worth dealing with - or - incapable of being honest with himself - they turn away from him.
Two men are pictured here. One sees no fault in himself and turns to deceit to deal with his problems. The other man is prudent - he turns to look closely at himself. As he looks he seeks to understand how his own actions, attitudes, and words affect what happens to him. One man will fail while the other succeeds. One man will forever be blaming others while the other will receive encouragement to change. One will walk the way of fools while the other will live a life of godly wisdom.