How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? Proverbs 1:22
What is wrong with you? Why are you the way you are? The questions stung, but under the circumstances of my addiction and subsequent destruction, they were probably appropriate. It is difficult for those unfamiliar with addiction to comprehend the why of addiction.
It was difficult to understand myself. Why would I indulge in something I knew to be so harmful, knowing the inevitable consequences? Why wouldn’t I stop, or at least seek help?
This seems to be the tone of today’s passage in which wisdom is personified as a woman calling to those who desperately need it. I have called and you refused to listen (Proverbs 1:24). The voice of wisdom beckons and warns of the consequences of refusing to follow. Your calamity comes like a whirlwind . . . the complacency of fools destroys them (Proverbs 1:27,32).
Wisdom is not just right knowledge. In my addiction, I knew what I was supposed to do. I just preferred otherwise. My preference overruled my intellect. Wisdom then, is not just right thought. It is right thought leading to right action.
This is the why of choosing misery. We choose misery, not because our goal is misery, but because we prefer to indulge in a thing even though we know it will make us miserable. We are fools, allowing broken preferences to override our knowledge. We eat junk food even though we know the consequences. We indulge in lust, pride and selfishness, even though we know the pain that follows. We refuse to listen to the voice of wisdom and we suffer for it.
Thankfully, the opposite is true as well. Whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster (Proverbs 1:33). When we allow our knowledge of right and wrong to direct our behavior – if we choose wisdom – then we embrace life and peace. Daily, this is our choice, to pursue our broken nature to find disaster, or to follow wisdom to find life, joy and peace in God. How long will you love being simple?