Keen insight wins favor,
but the conduct of the unfaithful is harsh.
Every shrewd person acts with knowledge,
but a fool displays his folly.
Everyone says you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. I guess that’s can be true. But sometimes I would argue that you can. For instance, there are books I will never read based on the cover. The whole line of romance novels that I don’t think any Christian ought to read usually have covers that cause me to judge that I shouldn’t read them. Seriously people, reading takes time and effort and that’s how you want to spend it? Anyway, there are other books that I want to read based on the cover. Books about leadership or songwriting, are generally books I would like to read.
The hebrew word for “displays” in the latter part of this Proverb means “spreads open.” There are other ways this word could be used that are a little are more along the lines of a romance novel than I’m comfortable delving into in the blog post. But the point is, the way a fool lives is like opening up the world the to the pages of his book, and revealing the innermost parts of their soul. The parts to no one has any business seeing. And yet, they just live in such a way that the whole world sees and knows who and what they are.
The point here isn’t to avoid public indecency, though that’s always a good point to make. The real point is that a shrewd person acts with knowledge. A wise/shrewd person knows the problems that might arise down the road and makes plans accordingly. The wise person is always planning, always thinking about what’s next and adjusting their path accordingly. The fool, lives moment to moment with no regard for the future. The fool doesn’t plan for tomorrow, let alone the weeks and months to follow. The fool lives for today, this moment, the here and now.
Because of this way of living, the conduct of the fool is harsh. They are rough around the edges. They don’t think about how their actions look to others and aren’t even capable of thinking of themselves from the perspective of someone else. They are merely the victims of their own way of life, and because of their foolish ways they find themselves trapped in a circle of destruction. Their actions are an open book into their soul. The way they act is like displaying the innermost parts of their being. A fool displays his folly because a fool isn’t aware of how the world perceives him – nor does he care.
But the wise person thinks how his actions come across. He thinks about how what he does affects those around him. He is aware of the kind of book he is writing with the pages of his life and adjusts his life accordingly. He uses his insight into the world to know how to live and make decisions that are best for him and for those he is responsible for. Because of his insight, he wins favor. Because he acts with knowledge, because he thinks before doing and plans for the future, because he is disciplined in how he lives today because he knows how he lives today affects how he will be able to live tomorrow…because of all this, the shrewd, wise person wins favor.
When people read the pages of your life like a book, what do they read? Do they read words of insight or do they read thoughts that were never meant to be public? By the very nature of the word, insight is internal. The opposite being external. None of us are perfect, and our the pages of our lives are filled with mistakes. But do we celebrate our folly or do we adjust our lives by the mistakes we make today to try to keep from making the same ones tomorrow?