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Proverbs 26:1-14 (ESV)
26 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool. 2 Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight. 3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools. 4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. 6 Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. 7 Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools. 8 Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool. 9 Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools. 10 Like an archer who wounds everyone is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard. 11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. 12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!” 14 As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed.
Chapter 26 focuses a lot on how to interact with fools. Guide a fool the way you guide an animal (3), do not sink down to the fool’s level and converse with him (4), do not use a fool for an important task (6), and it is quite dangerous to give honor to a fool (8, 10). While we should love all people as Jesus has shown us love, we cause ourselves unnecessary pain and suffering when we give the foolish people around us power and authority. How can we apply this to our lives? Maybe you put your money in the hands of a foolish advisor? Or give the care of your children to foolish babysitters? Or when you desperately trust a friend to share your heart with? Would they be foolish with that secret and use it to destroy you?