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Don't look like a fool

Proverbs 9:7-8 (a)

           "He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct scoffer, lest he hate you.” 

    It has been exceedingly tempting for me to correct scoffers in my life. In the name of teaching or helping I have done so. The results have always been the same, however, they have been exactly what wisdom told me they would be in the verses above. To correct in these verses can either be by physical means such as spanking, or it can be with words. It can even mean to teach - without actual correction. I have three people in my life who, at various times and in various seasons have presented themselves as scoffers. I have mistakenly attempted to teach and guide them by correction. One of them received the correction thus showing themselves to be a just person. Another scoffed and yet did not exhibit hatred toward me beyond ignoring my instruction. The third, actually exhibited emotional hatred and disdain for me. 

    It was my heart, I thought to teach them so that their lives would be easier, richer, safer, etc. However, this is a selfish notion and not always the will of God because it is not always the will of those we attempt to correct. Sometimes the hearts of those around us are not ready to receive from us and it is the Spirit of the Lord who we must allow to direct us toward perfect timing when dealing with others. 

    The word “Scoffer” here is described in the Hebrew- Chaldee Lexicon as “A frivolous and impudent person who scoffingly despises the most sacred precepts of religion, piety, and morals.” Proverbs 21:24 describes a scoffer as someone who acts with arrogant pride and this word implies one who interprets. Thus, a “scoffer” is a person who leans on their own understanding. They “interpret” what they see and hear based on their own knowledge of good and evil. Because they rely on their natural mind to navigate life, they are at enmity with God. For the word says in Romans 8:7 that the natural mind is at enmity against God. Thus, when those who are manifesting the kingdom of God speak the wisdom of God to the scoffer, they are treated scornfully. They are ridiculed and put to shame. This is a spiritual response that must be discerned lest those following the way become discouraged. 

    Furthermore, this understanding yields a solid indication of who is ready to receive the things of God and who is not. For if we are to share the gospel, and cast our pearls as it were, we can reserve ourselves from scorn and casting before swine if we attend to the indicators of pride and arrogance in the actions of another before we speak to them concerning God. 

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