Proverbs 26 (NIV)
26 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool. 2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest. 3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools! 4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. 6 Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison. 7 Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. 8 Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool. 9 Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. 10 Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by. 11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. 12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. 13 A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!” 14 As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. 15 A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. 16 A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who answer discreetly. 17 Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own. 18 Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death 19 is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” 20 Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip, a quarrel dies down. 21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife. 22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. 23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. 24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. 25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. 26 Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. 27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them. 28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
If a malicious person can disguise himself (verse 24-26), how can be exposed?
Lord, I have trusted and believed that most people are good and sincere. However, I have experienced that people can hate me in their heart while speaking words that sound comforting and reasonable. I have become complacent and gullible which has allowed malicious schemes to occur right under my nose. There are some who speak wonderful words in public, but their feelings and their support in private is a wholly different matter. Periodically warning signs show up in the words that slip out of their mouths to expose the thoughts of their hearts but I have been naïve and continue to entrust them with precious components of my life. Eventually their hard hearts are are revealed by hypocritical actions. Those that plot evil in their hearts to hurt others will eventually be exposed, but the damage they do along the way can only be repaired by applying Your remedies to the situations. Forgive me for being complacent and lazy. Awaken my senses and alert me to the schemes of Satan. Help me to stand up for Your truth. Give me the courage to speak the truth, and if it is hard truth to hear, to speak it in love. Keep me from pride and stop me when exposed to gossip. Set me free from any trace of deceit. Let me be a true and honest friend who is the same whether seen or unseen. Please warn me when people are trying to deceive me with smooth words, so that I am not tricked into any agreements that are not of You. Heal my heart that has been crushed by deception and make me stronger and wiser as a result. Have mercy on those who sins are exposed before all and cause their shame to turn them back to You in repentance. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.