The contrast of the wise and foolish echoes and resonates in my soul. Today we see how fools respond and how the wise respond to others. I wish I could say that I demonstrate wisdom in every interaction. There is much to learn in the Proverbs of Solomon…
15 The way of fools seems right to them,
but the wise listen to advice.
16 Fools show their annoyance at once,
but the prudent overlook an insult.
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:15, 16, 18
The foolish come across as knowing better, being impatient with others, and cutting in their words. Right away a few people come to mind. Isn’t that bad? You know them. We hope we aren’t them. Yet there is something to learn for each of us here.
Our way does seem right to us, doesn’t it? We are so committed to our own ideas that we overlook the insight in the ideas of others. That’s folly. It makes us foolish. And pig-headed. That’s probably an even more apt description. Pig-headed. The way of pig-headed people seems right to them. Don’t be like that.
Listen to advice. You don’t have to take advice. Yet you should listen to it. Starting with God. God’s advice is found in the Bible. Just like our proverbs today, there are thousands of nuggets of valuable truth and teaching for us in the Bible. And God also gives advice through the Holy Spirit as we seek him humbly in prayer.
Just like the names of fools so easily came to mind, the names of the wise also come to mind. Who has God placed in your path with experience and insight to share with you? Ask for their advice and consider it carefully.
Fools show their annoyance at once, and their annoyance comes back like arrows, darts, or the flash of a sword. Them’s fighting words. That’s the idea. Makes us not even want to say anything to them, right? We back off and walk on eggshells. Which makes life more difficult and eventually makes us back away from fools and move on. Don’t be a fool. People will back away from you and move on…
The wise overlook insults and heal with their words. This is hard to do, yet oh, so helpful in growing relationships with others. If we assume others don’t intend to harm (i.e. give them the benefit of the doubt), then we can overlook their hurtful words and build bridges.
I have a lot of room to grow here. You might too. The Proverbs are a great place to start and walk this journey. May God show us his amazing grace to live this out…