Scripture: Proverbs 26:4-5
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.
These two verses seem to be a contradiction, but the verses actually complement each other to explain two different methods of communication with a fool.
* Fool – a person who acts unwisely, imprudently, silly, thickheaded, jerk, bozo, idiot…you get the picture.
How many times have I been “pulled” into a pointless quarrel? How many times have I stayed silent when I should have spoken up? Knowing when to speak or when to stay silent can be complicated, especially when dealing with a person that is a “fool.” The tongue is a powerful weapon that can destroy or a powerful tool that can bring life. So many times throughout my life, I have engaged a fool, and I have been one as well! Pointless arguments with no real winner and useless silences, to avoid speaking the truth that may lead to another argument! How was I ever going to make a positive difference for Christ? Then a wise friend told me that she seeks God before speaking up and she asks for His timing, for when to speak up, AND for what He wants her to say. That was a powerful turning point for me. This process involved seeking God first, it involved right timing, and it involved caring enough about the relationships that God has placed in my life, not to win an argument but to win a person for Christ, and sometimes the very hardest part, of keeping my mouth shut! Arguments do not bring people to Christ, and silence does not bring necessary change. Wisdom, they say, is to “know the difference!”
God I ask for your wisdom. Wisdom to know when to keep silent and not engage in a useless argument, wisdom to know when to speak up and reveal your truth and not mine. Help me to know how to apply Godly principles from your word, that I might draw the fool closer to you, that you might help us both to bring glory to you.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.