Jump Start # 2323
Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”
There are people that come into our lives that are often difficult to deal with. Some you nearly have to love from a distance, and that is hard. There are layers of why some are so difficult. Our verse illustrates one such reason. There are those, here the Bible calls them a fool, who are right in their own eyes. You can’t tell them otherwise. They will argue. They will get loud. They get stubborn. Some get mean.
This must have been a common issue years ago because we have heard of the idea of never discussing politics and religion with others. Why not? Why, because it usually turns into a dog fight. Tempers flare. People get upset. Little is accomplished and reason is tossed out the window. There are some people who would argue in the middle of the day whether or not it’s day time. The fool is right in his own eyes.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
First, some arguments are not worth the trouble. You can argue with a sports fanatic about the greatest player of all time and at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter. It’s his opinion butting against your opinion. And, it’s possible that both opinions are not right. Life is short. There is too much good to be done. And, I guess the older I get, the less I am interested in controversy, especially over matters that do not matter.
Second, some folks are stubborn. And much too often, with stubbornness comes a good amount of pride. That pride keeps them stubborn and the stubbornness keeps them proud. Some folks just can’t admit that they were wrong. Some just can’t allow it that a younger person knew more than they did. Some are more interested in winning an argument than they are in finding what the truth is. For some of us, the older we get, the more stubborn we become. Now, when we talk about life in the church, that stubbornness can crush the spirit of young people and keep the church from doing all the good that it could. Someone could say, “I don’t have a smart phone. I don’t use the internet. I’m not on Facebook. I don’t know what Twitter is. It’s done me fine all these years, and I certainly do not think that a church should be engaged in such things.” When that stubborn opinion dominates, and it often does, the church is limited in what it can do.
Third, some folks do not want to admit that times change. They see it all around them and some do not like the changes. Some feel that if they can hold out, resist, then their world will remain the same. It never does. The mom & pop stores are on the way out. The big stores are on the way out. People shop on their phones. They order groceries and never have to leave their cars. Things are done a lot differently than just a couple of decades ago. Fewer people use cash. Checks are on the way out. New cars have so many safety features on them that they will slow down automatically if you get too close to the car in front of you. They will beep if you drift out of your lane. They will just about drive themselves. You may not like that. You may not want that. But if you are going to get a new car, that’s your choice.
Fourth, because a fool thinks he is right, doesn’t mean that he is right. He just thinks so. He thinks he is right and obviously, he also thinks that you are wrong. It takes humility for older folks to listen to younger people. Our years on this planet has earned us a degree of experience. We’ve seen things. And, with that, we tend to think we know about all there is to know. How wrong we are. There is a world of things that the younger folks can teach the older folks. Now, this can cause civil wars in the family as well as in our congregations. Younger folks like the newer, faster songs. Older folks, tend to like the songs they grew up with. Older folks have seen changes in the church that did not follow the Bible. So, new ideas, new methods, new ways, tend to be received with a bit of skepticism by the older generation. They want the church to stay close to God’s word. Things are not right nor wrong because they are either new or old. Old isn’t always the best, and some things do not need to be changed, either. Purpose, motive, reason, explanation and a huge amount of trust for each other sure helps in all of this.
Finally, is a fool destined to always be a fool? I do not believe so. Deflate his ego and his pride. Listen to the wisdom and the reason of others. Humble yourself. Follow God. Before long, the very things that caused him to be a fool will be gone. He will no longer be a fool. He will, as our verse tells us, listen to counsel. He will surround himself with quality people who will help him and connect him to the Lord.
In many ways, most of us have been on both sides of this passage. There were times, especially before we were Christians, that we stood right along side this fool. No one was telling us what to do. Stubborn. Proud. And, lost. But we changed. We humbled ourselves. We listened to others and to God. We became obedient from the heart and we opened the doors to a whole world of learning, understanding and changing.
The expression, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,’ is only true if that old dog is a fool.