Wisdom Principles | Proverbs 26

…honor is inappropriate for a fool. (Proverbs 26:1 CSB)

A person who is passing by and meddles in a quarrel that’s not his is like one who grabs a dog by the ears. (Proverbs 26:17 CSB)

Without wood, fire goes out; without gossip, conflict dies down. (Proverbs 27:20 CSB)

If you’ve been following this blog for the last few days you know that I have been working my way through the book of Proverbs; mining wisdom principles from the scripture in an effort to grow in faith. Most of these “wisdom gems” are simple thoughts that plant “knowledge nuggets” into our mind, helping us make decisions that bring us closer to Christ.

As I studied chapter 26, I noticed the importance of carefully discerning the people who want to influence my life. Instagram is full of “influencers” who have no more wisdom than a barn swallow when it comes to important matters. They just fly around…up and down, in and out, looking for the next unsuspecting worm that will provide them a meal.

Let’s consider three things the writer of Proverbs shares in this chapter.

…honor is inappropriate for a fool. (Proverbs 26:1 CSB)

Have you ever stopped to think about the media personalities who influence our thinking on a daily basis? We allow news opinions, music superstars, movie personalities to take up space in our minds and plant humanistic viewpoints that cause us to think about worldly ways instead of Kingdom principles. Many of these “influencers” cannot run their own lives properly, and yet we are willing to open our minds to their philosophies because they packaged it in a beautiful graphic or a catchy rhythm. What makes us want to celebrate them and honor them by purchasing their albums, reading their books, and rewarding their faulty and godless ideas? The writer of Proverbs says it is inappropriate.

Believe it or not, there are godly books, edifying movies, and holy music that rivals the output of wordly fools. Let’s honor the godly influencers.

Guard your heart by refusing to honor the opinions of fools.

A person who is passing by and meddles in a quarrel that’s not his is like one who grabs a dog by the ears. (Proverbs 26:17 CSB)

Sometimes, (probably MOST of the time) minding your own business is the best policy. At other times, other people genuinely need assistance. Just know that if you take up someone’s quarrel, it becomes yours as well. And, before it is resolved you may wish that you would have never grabbed that dogs ears.

Carefully consider whom you will defend. Once you take up someone's cause you must prepare for the possibility that the dog will bite!

Without wood, fire goes out; without gossip, conflict dies down. (Proverbs 26:20 CSB)

We must be careful when we decide to “share” information with others. The motive from which we share is very telling of our own spiritual maturity. People want to live their lives with a sense of dignity, and that is not possible when information is leaked by the gossips of this world. Even in the church, there are individuals who love to share detailed prayer requests that should have been considered an “unspoken” request.

The conflict that results when a gossip has been busy transmitting information is sometimes justified. Godly confrontation is sometimes necessary to resolve the relationship and to clear the record. Whichever side of the “gossip coin” you’ve been on, this fact remains… without gossip, the conflict dies!

Mark the gossiper. Do not lend them your ear and be a participant in it. If the gossip is about you, forgive the gossip and refuse to carry the offense.

As I’ve said before, Proverbs is a collection of practical ideas that produce wisdom. We often think of “depth” when we think about wisdom. However, wisdom works best when it is applied to the simple everyday encounters with life. That certainly is the case with chapter 26.

PRAYER: Father, I’ve benefited greatly from the simple and practical words of Proverbs 26. I’m asking You to help me to be aware of the dangers of spending my days in the presence of fools and gossips. Surround me with encouraging purveyors of wisdom and grace. Amen.

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