Friday – June 14, 2024

Proverbs 26-28; 1 Thessalonians 3

“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.” Proverbs 26:4-5

I’ve decided that I just need to stop reading comments on social media. People seem to be getting nastier and more argumentative, saying things through a screen they’d never dream of saying to someone’s face (I hope). I’ve had to stop myself from commenting to try and help people understand. No matter how well-intentioned my input, someone will tear it apart.

That’s what these verses make me think of, but at first glance, they seem a little contradictory. So, we aren’t supposed to answer a fool, but then we are supposed to? Which is it and how do we know?

For demonstration purposes, let’s say there are two types of fools:

  1. The Willful Fool (Proverbs 26:4): They don’t want to listen, will refute everything you say (no matter how wrong they are), and in the end, it won’t matter because they’ll just leave the conversation feeling victorious and still believing they are right and you’re wrong.Like my dad says, “Don’t argue with a fool. They’ll drag you to their level and beat you with experience.”
  2. The Unwitting Fool (Proverbs 26:5): Bless their heart, this fool just doesn’t know any better. Do you know those people who speak without a full grasp of the situation? These are the kind of people you could take to the side and lovingly correct one-on-one and they would take it as an act of kindness on your part. They’d see it as you helping them avoid such follies in the future.

So, before you answer the fool ask yourself: Does this fool need to be answered (are they willful or unwitting)? Can I trust myself to correct them lovingly? Am I trying to help them or just trying to be right? If the answers are no, no, and be right, it might be in your best interest to stay out of the comment section.