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Posted on Nov 3, 2013 in Proverbious

Drinking From The Toilet – Proverbious – Day 304 – Proverbs 26:11

Drinking From The Toilet – Proverbious – Day 304 – Proverbs 26:11

Proverbs 26:11

Like a dog that returns to its vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly.

This is probably one of the most popular proverbs of the Bible. Partly because they are used by Peter in 2 Peter 2, but also because they’re vivid and true. So true.

You’ve known someone, as have I who has done this. And it can drive you absolutely insane! You see someone make a foolish decision that costs them a lot, personally and even financially. You watch them suffer and even try to help them through the pain. Eventually, they come out the other side and you think they’re going to be better off for what they’ve gone through.

Until…

They do the exact same stupid thing again! They should have learned from their foolish choice in the past, but still they did the same stupid thing that cost them so much the first time around. It’s absolutely infuriating! It really is as gross as a dog returning to its vomit to eat whatever made it throw up the first time.

We can see the folly of the dog, and we can even see the folly of the foolish person who make this decision. But what about us?

Truth be told, we’re all a little foolish about something. None of us are perfectly wise, and we are all in a constant struggle between playing the part of the fool or the part of the wise. There is most certainly something in my life as there is most certainly something in your life that you keep returning to. You know it’s not good, you know that you need to change your ways, but still you keep going back to it. You go back to it, do the same thing again, and end up in the same spot.

Whatever it is, we need to flesh it out, and figure out a way to get past it. Until we do, we will continue to find ourselves going back to the toilet and taking a drink.

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Posted on Nov 2, 2013 in Proverbious

Take Aim First – Proverbious – Day 303 – Proverbs 26:10

Take Aim First – Proverbious – Day 303 – Proverbs 26:10

Proverbs 26:10

Like an archer who wounds at random,
so is the one who hires a fool or hires any passer-by.

While it was on the air, I loved the show Numbers. Perhaps it was because I’m a nerd, and the idea of using math to solve crimes sounds kind of cool. Regardless, I thought it was a cool show. One of the episodes was about a sniper who was shooting people on the freeway. People were afraid to drive because he seemed to just be shooting people at random. Of course, Charlie came up with a way to detect a pattern in his randomness and figured out how to pinpoint where the next shooting would take place.

But, with the absence of Charlie’s genius, this proverb applies the same fear those drivers were feeling to the hiring of an employee. And if you’ve ever worked with an employee that was hired that way, you know exactly what this proverb is talking about.

When you’re hiring someone, you need to take aim and make sure that you’re hitting the right target with the person you’re bringing in to the workplace. It’s not target practice, shooting whatever walks in front of you. It’s looking for the right person who will be a right fit.

There are probably a hundred reasons why we should be careful about who we hire, but in sticking with the idea of this proverb, this is one that should be at the top of the list. When you hire someone without thinking about what they are going to do, what their strengths are or about how they’re going to fit in your organization, you are putting the people in your organization on the field for target practice.

Notice too that the distinction is not just for fools. It’s also for any passer-by. That doesn’t mean that a passer-by might not be a good fit, it just means you shouldn’t just hire someone walking by.

The point is, be intentional. Know what you’re looking for. Know the strengths of the person you’re looking to hire. And know the culture and environment of your work place. Don’t just throw anyone into that environment and put it at risk.

Take aim first.

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Posted on Nov 1, 2013 in Proverbious

A Thorn in the Hand – Proverbious – Day 302 – Proverbs 26:8-9

A Thorn in the Hand – Proverbious – Day 302 – Proverbs 26:8-9

Proverbs 26:8-9

Like tying a stone in a sling,
so is giving honor to a fool.
Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard,
so is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.

If you haven’t gathered by now, the Proverbs don’t think real highly of fools. They’re kind of like the pond-scum of the earth. You can almost get a feeling or sense of what some modern day politicians feel about the public. It doesn’t matter which party, there are politicians on both sides who talk and think about the public as though we are a bunch of fools who don’t know how to think or speak for ourselves.

But, if you’ve ever dealt with a fool, you can understand the sentiment. If you’ve ever tried to give honor to a fool, then you know how that can work out. I’ve tried it. I had good intentions too. I thought if I give this person honor, then maybe it will help them rise to a higher level in other areas of their life. False. The stone never left the sling, it came right back to me. It was completely pointless. I would have been better off to hit myself in the head with the stone than to try to honor that person.

A thorn doesn’t belong in anyone’s hand. It’s just not supposed to be there. Amplify that with drunkenness and you have the usefulness of a proverb, or a wise word coming from the mouth of a fool. If a fool says something wise, chances are he’s not going to apply it to his life the right way. He might use that first phrase “like tying a stone in a sling” to mean that sometimes the point of a sling is to swing it around. When you’re not wise, it’s hard to know how to use a statement.

Or even worse, if someone is a fool and he shares advice with someone, he can do great damage. It’s like a thorn in your hand. Even if you get the thorn out, it shouldn’t have ever been there. So, it will leave damage and possibly have long term effects.

 

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Posted on Oct 31, 2013 in Proverbious

Walk Away – Proverbious – Day 301 – Proverbs 26:6-7

Walk Away – Proverbious – Day 301 – Proverbs 26:6-7

Proverbs 26:6-7

Like cutting off the feet or drinking violence,
so is sending a message by the hand of a fool.
Like legs that hang limp from the lame,
so is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

Have you ever trusted someone you shouldn’t have trusted? Have you ever taken the advice of someone you shouldn’t listened to?

This is a big point of a lot of the book of Proverbs. Listening to the right people. We need to be very careful who we allow to have influence in our lives. We need to be very careful who we allow to say things that we listen to. We need to be very careful about the words we allow to sink into the subconscious parts of our being.

When we allow the words and sayings of the fool to get into our thinking, it can take years and years to overcome the consequences of those ideas. Especially of those ideas take root in our minds and we allow them to affect how we make decisions.

One example is credit cards. For anyone who has used credit cards poorly, you bought into the lie of a fool at some point along the way. You listened to the truthless words of some marketer. You took advice from a guy whose legs don’t work about how to walk a tightrope. It was dumb. It was a bad idea to even listen to him, but you did and you’re going to be paying for it for a long time.

But, if you surround yourself with wise people then you will get much further ahead in life. If you listen to the guy who made a bunch of mistakes with credit cards and has spent a lot of his life trying to overcome them, you’ll be a lot further down the road. If you listen to a guy who knew how to walk, got his legs chopped off and has had to learn to walk all over again, you’re going to be much better off.

So, when the guy with prosthetics talks to you about walking listen. When the guy who’s never walked a day in his life tells you how to walk, smile and nod. Then walk away.

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Posted on Oct 30, 2013 in Proverbious

When to Engage the Fool – Proverbious – Day 300 – Proverbs 26:4-5

When to Engage the Fool – Proverbious – Day 300 – Proverbs 26:4-5

Proverbs 26:4-5

Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
lest you yourself also be like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own estimation.

What?! Don’t do it, but do it. You’re probably saying to yourself, “I knew the Bible contradicted itself.” And I can see why you might think that after reading this verse. But, let’s look at it a little more before we make that assumption.

Verse 4 – don’t answer a fool according to his folly. Why? Or else you too will become a fool. That make sense right. Don’t engage in a debate with a fool, otherwise you will have to lower yourself to his level, the level of a fool in order to argue with him. In other words, you will make yourself a fool to try to argue with the fool.

Verse 5 – Answer a fool according to his folly, or else he’ll think he’s a wise person. That makes sense too doesn’t it? If you’re going to answer a fool, then you have to answer them in a way that reveals their foolishness. If you are answering a fool, you cannot use wisdom because he’s not wise. You have to use an argument that the fool will understand. And in doing this, you will also reveal that he is a fool. This doesn’t mean we engage in his folly. This means that we engage him in the truth so that his folly can be revealed.

In other words, it’s not okay to let a fool go on thinking and talking like they’re wise. It’s not okay to answer a fool with a foolish answer and let him think he’s a wise person. But, you do have to express the truth in a way they understand. You have to address the problem of his foolishness and yet not be a fool.

Sometimes you have to ignore the fool (the premise of verse 4) and sometimes you have to engage the fool. When we do which will require wisdom. You will have to use your wisdom to try to assess how the fool will respond. You might be right, you might be wrong. But don’t just enter into a conversation with a fool without thinking first.

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Posted on Oct 29, 2013 in Proverbious

It’s a Good Thing – Proverbious – Day 299 – Proverbs 26:3

It’s a Good Thing – Proverbious – Day 299 – Proverbs 26:3

Proverbs 26:3

A whip for the horse and a bridle for the donkey,
and a rod for the backs of fools!

I don’t know if you remember, but there was a big story back in 1994 that got a lot of national attention. It was Michael P. Fay, and he was getting attention because he received the sentence of getting caned for vandalism he had committed in Singapore at the age of 18. There were a lot of Americans who were outraged because they thought it was cruel and unusual punishment. There were others who thought it was what he deserved because that was the punishment for the crime he committed in that country. Ultimately, his sentence got reduced from 6 strikes of the cane to 4 because American officials requested leniency.

I remember saying that if Americans got caned for vandalism, stealing and taking apart cars, there would be a lot less vandalism in America. Now that I’m older, and have some years of life under my belt, I’m still pretty sure that’s true.

I know that sounds harsh and cruel to a lot of us who are reading this post in America. But, let me speak from personal experience.

When I was a kid, I made a similar stupid decision. Under the influence of a neighborhood kid, I helped vandalize a shed and back door of a vacant house on our street. We found some paint in the shed, and painted the inside walls of the shed. I think we wrote our names. (I know, we were brilliant.) And then we were trying to get into the house, and threw bricks at the back door to try to get in. And it was about this time that we got caught by the owners of the house.

The worst possible thing happened. And it’s not what you’re thinking. The owners wanted to call the police, but they didn’t. They called my dad. I think I would have rather gone to jail.

Now, it’s not that my dad was abusive. It’s that my dad disciplined us as kids, and this was one punishment I most certainly deserved. Yes, I got a spanking. And yes, I got grounded for a week. And no, I never vandalized anything again.

And that’s my point. I acted like a fool. I did something very foolish. And I got punished for it. And I never did it again.

That’s the point of this proverb, when you do something foolish, you deserve to get treated like a fool. And you deserve to get treated like a fool until you learn to stop being a fool. Just like a horse will get treated harshly until it learns to walk the right way, so will we. But it’s a good thing.

It’s good because you want to be able to trust that the horse is going to get you where you need to go without throwing you off along the way. And as adults in society, we need to be able to do the right thing without screwing up the lives of those around us. Sometimes that requires harsher punishment.

But, if we start acting like with wise instead of the fool, it’s a good thing. To my knowledge, Michael P. Fay never vandalized another car in Singapore. Just as I never vandalized another shed. It’s a good thing.

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