26 Those who trust in themselves are fools,
but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.
27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.
28 When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding;
but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.
The fool doubts everything he doesn’t understand, and assumes this makes him free to choose his own path. But this so-called freedom doesn’t last long, as unforeseen dangers are the most difficult to avoid. “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.” The wise person also has doubts, but he understands enough to doubt himself first. This protects him from the arrogance in which the fool is trapped, and enables him to learn from the experience of others.
“Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” When we prioritize our own needs above the needs of others, we overlook two important things. First, we close ourselves off from others, as well as the Lord, leaving no room to receive their blessings. What opportunity is there to provide for the one who provides everything for himself? Second, we use up all of our time and energy taking care of ourselves, with little left with which to bless others. None of us wants to be dependant, but independence is not the answer. It is through the giving and receiving of interdependence that we find true abundance in life.
“When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.” To measure the character of a leader, one need only observe those under his authority. Do they hide from him? Are they reluctant to keep him informed? Are they working beneath their potential? These are all symptoms of bad leadership, and neither threats nor punishment will resolve them. But when bad leadership is done away with the righteous thrive; replacing fear with optimism and dysfunction with productivity. If you are a leader, take this to heart, you have more influence than you think.