Ancient wisdom for today (5)

August 5th 2012, Day 5, Proverbs 5

Do you know the saying, ‘Drink from your own rain-barrel, draw water from your own spring-fed well’? It’s true! Otherwise, you may one day come home and find your barrel empty and your well polluted.” Proverbs 5: 15 (The Message)

Well of course it’s not terribly clear based on that excerpt alone what the author is saying but the heading in this section of the book (‘Never take love for granted’) and what’s outlined in the rest of the section makes it fairly clear that the author is speaking in favour of fidelity in relationships (even if the euphemisms seem rather peculiar in these frank-speaking days, “your spring-water is for you and you only, not to be passed around among strangers,” for example).

I’m always hearing people say that it’s up to us as ‘consenting’ adults to make our own choices about what we do, that we shouldn’t judge other people and that, if what we’re doing doesn’t hurt anyone else, we can do what we like.

Now you see – it’s that last point that bothers me;

  • because I’ve seen the way so many influences around us try to manipulate our thinking
  • because the perspective most of us have on our own lives (and those of others) and what’s good for us (and others) is so very limited
  • because of people’s apparent general willingness to take advantage of each other if they think they’ll get away with it

But mostly because while our culture is developing a rampant “I’ll-do-what-I-like-and-you-have-no-right-to-tell-me-I-can’t” attitude on one hand, on the other it seems equally quick with the “it’s-your-fault-this-happened-to-me-you-should-have-warned-me” as soon as someone runs into unpleasant and unexpected consequences of what-seemed-like pleasant decisions.

Unless we get better at thinking about the implications of what we’re doing outside of our own personal selfish focus then I don’t think we can say with absolute certainty that what we’re going isn’t hurting anyone else (or indeed ourselves)…

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