Proverbs Challenge | May 26, 2020
Key Text: Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. Proverbs 26:5-6
“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napoleon Hill
God’s Word has a distinct way of making us think. There is nothing like it! In Proverbs 26, there is an apparent contradiction. When a fool speaks, don’t answer him. When a fool speaks, answer him. Which one is it? Well, it is both. Notice that the text assumes we will hear from a fool (which we should all admit that foolishness can and does come from us). The dilemma and the solution are not if we should answer, but how.
In verse 5, the clarion call is that we ought not to be like the fool. Keep in mind that Proverbs provides plenty of principles regarding wise speech. “A gentle answer turns away wrath” and “how good is a timely word!” (15:1,23). The point here is that we should choose our words and battles carefully. Going even further, it is not appropriate to correct every fool you observe. Consider verse 17 when it says, “Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.” How we engage people who are not acting wisely and what we say to them should be determined by God’s standard, not our feeling on the matter.
Jesus came and lived out the perfect example. We would do well to copy His approach to dealing with foolish people. He did so with gentleness and respect, while not backing down from appropriate conflict. Interestingly enough, He rarely responded with anything but a question. He didn’t engage to win the argument, but the person. His motive was to seek and save, not seek and destroy. Gently respond with the spirit of restoration if and when the situation calls for it.
John LeVahn, Senior Pastor
Today’s Challenge: Pray and engage with tact where appropriate.