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wisdom and discretion

In our Friday morning men’s group, we recently began studying the book of Daniel.  In chapter two, King Nebuchadnezzar has a troubling dream.  After ruling out bad pizza, he calls in his assortment of magicians, enchanters, and sorcerers and challenges them to interpret his dream.  Only one caveat: if they can’t first tell him what the dream was, he will have them torn apart from limb to limb.  That must have been one bad dream.

It becomes obvious they’re stalling for time and Nebuchadnezzar then decides to have all the wise men in Babylon killed.

“And because of the king’s decree, men were sent to find and kill Daniel and his friends.  When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion.” (Daniel 2:13-14).

I love how Daniel responds at this critical moment: with wisdom and discretion.  A crisis demands both.

Leaders who lead effectively are those think before speaking — utilizing the wisdom they’ve gained from previous experiences.  When crisis strikes, effective leaders (parents, employers, managers, coaches) realize that a wise word has the potential of changing the conversation or diffusing a hot spot.  In harnessing wisdom, they also avoid repeating mistakes.

Daniel also exercises discretion.  Discretion is knowing that not everything that needs to be said needs to be said at once.  Discretion is first listening, then responding.  It’s picking and choosing what to say and when to say it.

As you make leadership decisions today (and tomorrow), may you handle those situations with wisdom and discretion.