Contradictions – Proverbs 26

The next alleged contradiction is a verse from Proverbs 26.  The first 12 verses of this chapter deal with fools – people who are the opposite of wise.  The reader is warned about fools in a variety of ways.  But of course, there are different kinds of fools, as we all know.  Some people are fools out of ignorance or inexperience.  They are fools in a certain regard, but with time and teaching they will become wise.  Other fools are such in a deeper and broader sense.  They won’t allow themselves to become wise, oftentimes because they already insist that they are wise.   And as with most of life, the proper way to handle a fool lies in the context.

Proverbs as a whole represents this contextual nature of wisdom.  A different approach is wise in different situations.  It would be patently unwise to attempt the same approach regardless of the situation.  Dealing with fools is the same thing.  You have to know the kind of fool you’re dealing with in order to know how to deal with them most wisely.

Some fools seek to draw us into their game, or into their folly.  I liken this to trollers on the Internet.  There are folks who love to try and rile people up with inflammatory comments.  They want to draw people into argumentation or into a verbal war.  They comment not in order to further dialogue or more deeply explore an issue, but just the opposite.  And as anyone on the Internet for any length of time knows, the last thing you want to do is engage a troller.  It’s a waste of time and effort.  So it is with some fools.  If you take the time to engage them, it’s time wasted and in the end you look just as foolish as they do if not more so, since you should have known better in the first place!

Other folks who post online mean well, but they are fundamentally misinformed or lacking in knowledge or experience.  They aren’t simply trying to waste people’s time but are genuinely foolish in their misinformation.  In these situations, providing context, background, education, etc. can be helpful in leading this person from foolishness or ignorance towards wisdom.  That’s what I’m trying to do in responding to these alleged Biblical contradictions.  For the person that really wants to understand what is going on, I strive to the best of my limited abilities to provide clarification.  I don’t want them to remain foolishly ignorant, or simply to take the word of someone who has written a book that a contradiction exists where it actually doesn’t.  My goal is that the reader would become wiser and more discerning, able to see better for themselves what is going on rather than just taking the word of someone else.

Two different approaches to dealing with an unwise person.  Sometimes you don’t waste your time.  Other times, you do spend the time because the other person can be educated and made wiser.  Likewise, there have been times when my own foolishness has been reduced somewhat by the patient efforts and explanations of others.  I’m grateful they took the time, despite the fact that I must have looked very foolish indeed!

 

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