11 June 2015

Of the Fool

A couple weeks ago, I was reading through Proverbs, in chapter 26, to be exact, and I found myself amidst verses I had heard many times before. All those ones talking about a "fool" - you know, that other guy, the one who just doesn't get it. Here is a sampling:

"Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
    so honor is not fitting for a fool.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
    and a rod for the back of fools.
Answer not a fool according to his folly,
    lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
    lest he be wise in his own eyes.
Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool
    cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
Like a lame man's legs, which hang useless,
    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
Like one who binds the stone in the sling
    is one who gives honor to a fool.
Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard
    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 Like an archer who wounds everyone
    is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.
11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit
    is a fool who repeats his folly. " (Proverbs 26:1,3-11, ESV, emphasis added)

Right around this time, after eleven verses going on, and on, and on, about how useless fools are and how little hope they have in the world, I was kind of done. I am not just being overly dramatic when I say, literally, at this point in my reading I thought to myself, "Ok, we get it."

And then came verse number 12, one I had heard before, but, when read in the context of the previous eleven tiring verses, was rather a sucker punch to the gut:

"Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for him."(Proverbs 26:12)

Say what now? Now I'm awake.

Because if ever there was a person who was wise in his own eyes, I'm the girl. I'm the one who can pass any test, solve any riddle. If you have a problem, I guarantee I have a solution (not that I'll share it, because I don't necessarily need to tell you what to do, I just like the satisfaction of knowing that I know). And if you're not solving it the way I would have, I will have an opinion about that. I probably won't share that opinion with you, but, trust me, I've definitely shared it with someone (probably my husband because we kind of shame spiral together into gossip and petty judgments - it's totally a healthy bonding experience).

Wise in her own eyes? Yep, that's me.

And, yet, here it is, plain as day - there is more hope for a fool than for a person like me.

A fool.

You know, that one who deserves no honor, but, rather, a rod to the back. The man whose mouth is not even worthy to hold a wise saying. The one who is like a dog returning to his vomit in the way he continues after the filth of this world.

This man has more hope than I.

Let it not be true. May my eyes be torn out before they continue to see wisdom in my own frivolity, petty thoughts or belittling opinions.

May I see the worth and value in the hearts of others, in the opinions of others. May I no longer seek my own honor or the worthless validation that comes from thinking better of myself than of those around me.

May there be hope for me yet.

Oh, Lord, that you would humble me to hear the words of others more than my own voice. Grant me your eyes to see those around me and ear to hear Your wisdom alone.

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