A few years ago, a great teacher whom we knew died. He was, directly and indirectly, responsible for improving the lives of tens of thousands of people. He is assured of a continuing presence in Wikipedia. Yet he was also tragically unable to acknowledge the love and respect of his students and was hurtfully dismissive of those who offered him constructive criticism. In short, with all his virtues and contributions, he was a less-than-perfect human being. Just like the rest of us. The beginning of wisdom is knowing, really knowing, that we are not God. Then acting accordingly.
Wisdom means not only knowing better, but doing better—being God-like as much of the time as we can. That is, striving to be saints, not just sages. Living from our divinely directed true selves, not our egos. How hard it is to be great yet humble! How difficult in our knowledge-based society to realize that being smart, even worldly wise, is not enough! True wisdom is doing good, living with compassion, and walking humbly in the knowledge that God with us is not that same as I am God. We may be captains of our souls, but not the admiral of the fleet, let alone Commander in Chief. As the second half of 2019 unfolds, may each of us be guided not just to know better but to do better more and more of the time, and may the soul of that great teacher who left us be richly rewarded for all the good he did and forgiven for his mistakes. Amen.