“I, wisdom, dwell
together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To
fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behaviour and
perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have
insight, I have power. Proverbs 8 (NIV)
In ancient times, temperance,
wisdom, justice, and courage were considered most desirable character traits.
Temperance relates to discretion, restraint or self-control; in life, there are
some things we serve and others we master. It’s usually your choice who or
which you serve, leisure, pleasure, ambition, emotions, appetite, money, family
etc. Remember everything affects everything else, nothing stands alone. Don’t
be mastered by the wrong stuff.
A sense of justice controls an
individual’s interaction with others. Sound judgement relates to being able to
decide based on observable attributes devoid of emotion or personal prejudice.
Most people hold a subjective point of view; they can only see things from
their own narrow perspective. Counsel
and sound judgement trains you to be objective at all times, hence you are able
to see things for what they are by taking various viewpoints around the same
Courage speaks of the ability to proceed
on a worthy course regardless of fear or trepidations we may feel deep inside.
Prudence on the other hand is the virtue that helps to temper rashness
especially when we feel able. Strength and confidence sometimes tends towards
arrogance, prudence helps to prevent a disaster.
At the battle of Cannae; 216BC, the Roman
army suffered what was probably their heaviest defeat ever as they lost to
Hannibal the Carthaginian general. The carnage could have been prevented but
for the rashness and pride Varro the roman commander. Prudence is especially relevant in the place
of perceived strength.
You shall not be lured into an ambush,
prudence and discretion shall preserve you.