Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Mi Consigliere!

Where there is no counsel, the people fall;
But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

(Proverbs 11:14)

Remember the last time somebody rubbed you the wrong way? Does this person even know he offended you, or did you just quietly grumble under your breath and go about your business ... perhaps gossiping about so-and-so to your close friends, and snickering over what a clueless knuckle-head this person is?

But flip this scenario around, and imagine moments when you're the clueless nitwit, unknowingly alienating friends/co-workers or engaging in self-destructive behavior, while others titter behind your back.
Not quite so amusing

As children, we expect grownups to correct our manners, grammar, and behavior. In the process, we open ourselves to change - we learn, we adapt, we grow. But somewhere during the transition to adulthood, we cross the invisible boundary labeled 'you ought to know better by now,' and that flow of feedback slows to a trickle, and then stops. And as goes feedback, so goes your development as a human being.

Think of all the self-defeating and objectionable behavior you witness among your friends and acquaintances; unfortunately, given the choice between bringing up potentially uncomfortable topics or turning a blind eye, most opt for the latter. And so we go along, blissfully unaware, with our growth curve flat-lined, making the same mistakes over and over again ... before an audience of knowing peers too polite to point out your flaws to your face.

We dont typically take our tips for living from the mafia, but even they have something to teach us in the isolated society we find ourselves. In the Mob, high-ranking capos (leaders of groups of individuals involved in organized crime) put tremendous trust on their consigliere, a senior advisor who exists outside the chain-of-command hierarchy of the organization (and thus, capable of more objective advice), for valuable outsider's perspective. Of course, the benefits of having consigliere are not limited to just mob bosses. Everybody has personal blind spots - flaws in our temperament or personality that cause needless conflicts, spawn preventable problems.

SYLLABICATION: con·si·glie·re
NOUN: An adviser or counselor, especially to a capo or leader of an organized crime syndicate.
ETYMOLOGY: Italian, from Latin c nsili rius, from c nsilium, advice. [i]

A good consigliere acts as a corrective force that can call you out on your excesses and offer the sort of pointed observations about your habits and foibles that quietly cripple you.

Scripture has much to say about one being open to, even enlisting others to serve as their personal consigliere. Scripture calls those who have at least one person speaking with the authority of a consigliere a wise person. Conversely, Scripture calls those without such a person foolish, or to put it bluntly stupid. We will look at this concept in more depth in the weeks to come. (See appendix for a sampling of verses concerning this subject).

Question: Have you ever solicited this type of information from someone? If not, what are your fears and apprehensions.

Question: If those around you were aware of something that would help you, would you want them to tell you?

Question: Who is your consigliere, and what are the blind spots (professional or personal) that you wrestle with?

Action: The next time you see someone you have more than a casual relationship with rather than asking them

How are you doing? ask them, So, how am I doing?.

[i] The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

For addition insight read Appendix Two entitled
A Fools Proverb

A Fools Proverb

Pr 10:8 The wise in heart will receive commands, But a prating fool will fall.
Pr 10:18 Whoever hides hatred [has] lying lips, And whoever spreads slander [is] a fool.
Pr 12:15 The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel [is] wise.
Pr 12:16 A fool's wrath is known at once, But a prudent [man] covers shame.
Pr 13:16 Every prudent [man] acts with knowledge, But a fool lays open [his] folly.
Pr 14:3 In the mouth of a fool [is] a rod of pride, But the lips of the wise will preserve them.
Pr 14:16 A wise [man] fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident.
Pr 15:5 A fool despises his father's instruction, But he who receives correction is prudent.
Pr 15:7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, But the heart of the fool [does] not [do] so.
Pr 17:7 Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool, Much less lying lips to a prince.
Pr 17:10 Rebuke is more effective for a wise [man] Than a hundred blows on a fool.
Pr 17:12 Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, Rather than a fool in his folly.
Pr 17:16 Why [is there] in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom, Since [he has] no heart [for it]?
Pr 17:24 Wisdom [is] in the sight of him who has understanding, But the eyes of a fool [are] on the ends of the earth.
Pr 18:2 A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart.
Pr 18:6 A fool's lips enter into contention, And his mouth calls for blows.
Pr 18:7 A fool's mouth [is] his destruction, And his lips [are] the snare of his soul.
Pr 19:1 Better [is] the poor who walks in his integrity Than [one who is] perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
Pr 19:10 Luxury is not fitting for a fool, Much less for a servant to rule over princes.
Pr 20:3 [It is] honorable for a man to stop striving, Since any fool can start a quarrel.
Pr 23:9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words.
Pr 24:7 Wisdom [is] too lofty for a fool; He does not open his mouth in the gate.
Pr 26:1 As snow in summer and rain in harvest, So honor is not fitting for a fool.
Pr 26:4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.
Pr 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.
Pr 26:8 Like one who binds a stone in a sling [Is] he who gives honor to a fool.
Pr 26:11 As a dog returns to his own vomit, [So] a fool repeats his folly.
Pr 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? [There is] more hope for a fool than for him.
Pr 28:26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
Pr 29:11 A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise [man] holds them back.
Pr 29:20 Do you see a man hasty in his words? [There is] more hope for a fool than for him.

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