Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Foolish - Words of Wisdom for our Leaders


We are seeing a growing number of managers and leaders, in the public and private sector who just don't seem to be able to clearly distinguish between what is good, bad, or foolish behavior. The following are selected verses and words of wisdom from the Bible on leadership, righteous behavior, 'best practices', and 'lessons learned' from across the past several millennium. Take a few minutes to read the following – it may change your life and the lives of many others for the better.


  • 1 Timothy 6:11.  You, man of God, flee from all this [love of money], and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
  • Galatians 5:22-23.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
  • Colossians 3:12.  Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:13-18. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances
  • Titus 3:1-2.  Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
  • 2 Peter 1:5-7.  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
Examples of Words Describing 'Good' Traits or Behavior

righteous                                              godliness                                  considerate
love                                                      gentleness                                kind
endurance                                            joyful                                        peaceable
patience                                               prayerful                                   humble           
faithfulness                                          self-control                               obedient
compassion                                         kindness                                   humility
thankful                                                patient                                       trusting
hopeful                                                 persevering                              peace-maker
encouraging                                         helpful                                      joyful

  • Matthew 15:19.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
  • Mark 7:21-22.  For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
  • Romans 1:29-31.  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,   slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
  • 1 Timothy 1: 9-10. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers--and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine
  • 2 Timothy 3:1-5.  There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
  • Galatians 5:19-21.  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
  • Revelation 21:8.  But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
  • Revelation 22:15.  Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Examples of Words Describing 'Evil' Traits or Behavior

murder                                                adultery                                    sexual immorality
theft                                                     false testimony                        slander
evil thoughts                                        greed                                       malice
deceit                                                  lewdness                                 envy
arrogance                                           unbelieving                               wickedness
depravity                                             strife                                         malice
gossips                                               God-haters                              insolent
boastful                                               vile                                           senseless
faithless                                              heartless                                  ruthless
lawbreakers                                        rebels                                       ungodly
sinful                                                   disobedient                               irreligious
perverts                                              slave traders                             liars
perjurers                                             lovers of themselves                lovers of money
proud                                                  abusive                                     ungrateful
unholy                                                 without love                              unforgiving
without self-control                             brutal                                        treacherous
rash                                                    conceited                                  debauchery
idolatry                                                witchcraft                                 hatred
discord                                                jealousy                                    fits of rage
selfish ambition                                   dissensions                             envious
drunkenness                                       orgies                                       cowardly

            Fools & Foolish Behavior
        (Perhaps the worst of all)

Advice to Fools
  • Proverbs 1:7.  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools  despise wisdom and discipline.
  • Proverbs 3:35.  The wise inherit honor, but fools the LORD holds up to shame.
  • Proverbs 8:5.  You who are foolish, gain understanding.
Fools vs. Wise Men
  • Proverbs 10:23.  A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct, but a man of understanding delights in wisdom.
  • Proverbs 11:29.  He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.
  • Proverbs 12:15-16.  The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.  A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
  • Proverbs 14:7-9.  Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips. The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.  Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.
  • Proverbs 14:16-17.  A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless. A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated.
  • Proverbs 15:2.  The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
  • Proverbs 29:11.  A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
  • Proverbs 15:5.  A fool spurns his father's discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.
Observations About Fools
  • Proverbs 13:19.  Fools detest turning from evil.
  • Proverbs 10:18.  He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.
  • Proverbs 18:2.  A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.
  • Proverbs 17:16.  Of what use is money in the hand of a fool
  • Proverbs 19:10.  It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury
  • Proverbs 26:1.  Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool.
  • Proverbs 20:3.  It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.
  • Proverbs 17:10.  A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool.
  • Proverbs 17:25.  A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the one who bore him.
  • Proverbs 19:1.  Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.
  • Proverbs 23:9.  Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.
Consequences of Foolishness
  • Proverbs 10:21.  The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.
  • Proverbs 14:3.  A fool's talk brings a rod to his back.
  • Proverbs 18:6-7.  A fool's lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating.  A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
Conclusions About Fools
Proverbs 26:3-12.  A whip for the horse, a halter for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools! Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison. Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool. Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by. As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

Examples of Words Describing Foolish Traits or Behavior

deceptive                                             lack of judgment                                  drunkard
lovers of evil                                         perverse lips                                        reckless
slanderers                                            scorns wisdom                                   spurns advice
self opinionated                                    wise in his own eyes                           hot headed
quick tempered                                    quick to vent anger                              arrogant
Conclusion & Recommendations

Being objective, look at the traits above and determine what category you fall into? Are you Good? Evil? Or Foolish? Seriously consider creating a bookmark to an online, digitized version of the Bible or other similar, widely acknowledged classical books of wisdom. Then use it when faced with major decisions. Given the current state of affairs in many public and private sector institutions, leaders and managers across the board need to do this.

For links to free and open source versions the Bible and other useful religious texts and tools are available on the COSI 'Open' Religious Technology & Tools web site. Use these tools to acquire information and knowledge, then understanding, and finally –  wisdom.

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