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How to win friends and influence people- God's way!

Proverbs 25:6-7

 6 Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of the great; 7 For [it is] better that he say to you, "Come up here," Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen.”

It is one of the most tempting things in the world but one of the biggest social taboos there is…. to brag about yourself or to arrogantly assume that you are the most important person in the presence of a leader. Most of us have engaged in this behavior in the workplace or at an event that we have attended. So why do we do it? The simple answer to that is insecurity. Insecurity and arrogance are two ends of the same stick- Pride. Both emotions cause us to think only of ourselves and cause is to act in a way that is unloving. The population at large is, in general insecure, even and usually especially the arrogant members of society. This type of insecurity is not as obvious though because it is frequently masked behind a loud and boisterous tongue! To assume that just because you may have some knowledge that you suspect the leader needs does not necessarily offer you the privilege of self-exaltation. In the same respect, even if you have been complimented by the leader, it is not an invitation to promote yourself. Self-promotion and exaltation doesn’t always come in the form of taking the second most privileged seat in the house, sometimes it is name dropping dominating a conversation with stories of your own accomplishments or exploits.  There are several allusions to this concept throughout scripture. For instance when Jesus attends the wedding at Cana in John 2 and the host runs out of wine. Mary approaches Jesus to solve the issue and Jesus says something that we don’t normally grasp with our western minds. He says:

John 2:4(b) “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

The term “woman” here sometimes offends us because it implies disrespect inner minds but Jesus did not dis His mother, the term in Hebrew is like saying “Yes ma’am” - it can be used as a term of admiration or indignation but it is always directed toward an older, married, or betrothed female. Then He asked what her concern had to do with Him. By virtue of the fact that He said it this way, indicates that he was not concerned with the state of the wine or the state of the wedding. As well, because Mary approached Him for help, we can rightly conclude that she was involved with the wedding in some capacity. It is highly probable that she was family (thereby making Jesus family) because she was tasked with managing part of the open bar. Jesus, as we deduct from His response did not try to exalt Himself as the most important guest at the wedding, even though He certainly was. Not even on a human level did He attempt to “step on the toes” of His own mother by “showing off” and turning the water into the best wine on the planet- even though He could have before being asked to. Then Jesus said that His hour had not yet come. In context, He is saying that He had not yet been asked to host a wedding and providing wine was not His personal responsibility. -What is awesome is of course that He gave Mary the desire of her heart so that she could save face with the Pharisaical host of the party. He cares about what we care about!! - 

    At any rate, this story reveals exactly how to behave in a social situation. Furthermore, the Septuagint {Greek version of Hebrew Torah} translates the verse in a different but just as impactful way:

Proverbs 25:7 (b)- Septuagint- 

    “speak of that which thine eyes have seen”-

Unpretentiously, this verse means to only talk about what you have first-hand knowledge of… especially in the presence of a ruler. How quiet a gathering or a meeting would be if we listened to what God teaches us in this verse!!! I personally have been known to “run off at the mouth” about things I do not have a comprehensive understanding of. I can say that every time I have engaged in that type of behavior it was because of extreme insecurity and fear of not being heard, understood, or liked. The effect almost universally in these situations was that I was pressed the issue and could not defend my understanding- because it was not complete and thus I looked like a fool. 

    When we join these two renditions of this verse, we find that the best way to handle a social situation is to believe that God goes before us and that He has given us favor so that we can feel secure when we speak, and we have no need to parade ourselves. God will exalt us in due time if we humble ourselves by casting ALL of our care on Him…. He does care for us! 

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