In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge between good and evil. In the Word of God we get the wisdom through the Holy Spirit to discern good and evil. The question however is if we have the wisdom to discern.
When the twenty one year old Solomon started to reign over Israel, God honoured his request to have wisdom. Solomon asked: 1 Kings 3:9 “Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
Solomon knew that God’s kindness to his father, David, was a result of his father’s faithfulness to God evidenced by righteous attitudes and actions. Now that Solomon is king, he feels the heavy weight of being the leader and judge of God’s people. Therefore, he confesses his own inadequacies, considering himself a mere child before God, and acknowledges his dependence on God for wisdom in resolving the conflicts of his people.
It so pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked for a wise and discerning mind that He not only gave him wisdom like no other but also bestowed riches and honor on him as well as the promise of a long life if he obeyed the Lord.
Solomon soon needed to call on that wisdom when two prostitutes came calling with a conflict: 1 Kings 3:16–22 “Two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. One of them said, ‘My lord, this woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was there with me. The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us. During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast.…’ The other woman said, ‘No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.’ But the first one insisted, ‘No! The dead one is yours.…’ And so they argued before the king.”
We need wisdom when we are confronted with conflict to do the God-honoured thing. “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (Romans 14:19)
To have this wisdom, we have to put it into practice. The book of Philemon verses 1–25 gives seven principles to apply when we face a conflict:
- Humility: Don’t use your higher position to take advantage of those in a lower position. Philemon 8-9
- Integrity: Be absolutely honest about the problems. Philemon 10-11
- Vulnerability: Share your heart feelings. Philemon 12-13
- Submission: Don’t force an action not under your control. Philemon 14
- Optimism: Expect the best of another. Philemon 14
- Faith: Remember the sovereign hand of God. Philemon 15-16
- Exhortation: Choose your words carefully. Philemon 21