Proverbs 26:12 – “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
Ten of the first eleven verses in chapter 26 talk about the danger of dealing with a fool. We are reminded that:
- that honor is not fitting for a fool (vs. 1)
- that a fool’s life will be marked by discipline because they won’t respond to common sense (vs. 3)
- that sometimes it’s wise to answer a fool…and other times it’s not (vs. 4-5)
- that fools are not reliable (vs. 6)
- that fools are not teachable (vs. 7 & 9)
- that giving honor to a fool is counter-productive (vs. 8)
- that fools will set you back in your tasks/work (vs. 10)
- that fools don’t learn from their mistakes (vs. 11).
After you get through the first part of this chapter we should be thinking something along the lines of, “sounds like being a fool is the worst thing I can be! I better effort to not be that guy.” And then you read verse 12 and we learn that being a fool is actually NOT the worst thing.
What’s worse than being a fool?
The answer: being wise in our own eyes.
Pride. Being a know it all. Arrogance. Walking into a room, assuming and treating others like you are the smartest person there. Believing that no one can offer you any bit of wisdom because you serve as the fountain of all knowledge and intellect. Looking down on everyone else and refusing to entertain the notion that you might need others.
- It’s walking into the church service, seeing someone other than your favorite pastor teaching and thinking “oh man…I should have stayed home.”
- It’s jumping in with your community group and thinking that no one else can give you counsel that you haven’t already heard.
- It’s being a newlywed and holding on tight to the notion that “no one has ever been in love like we have” so we don’t need to worry about all that conflict resolution stuff.
- It’s believing that you’re so terminally unique that no one will understand your struggle with _______.
- It’s refusing to admit you messed up, say your sorry and seek forgiveness.
- It’s failing to acknowledge that God uses the weak things of the world to shame the strong (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:27)
- It’s being unwilling to come to terms with the reality that you can do nothing to earn your salvation and that you need a Savior (cf. Ephesians 2:8-9)
This proverb placed strategically on the heels of the previous eleven verses can be, if we let it, a great reminder that we need others to sharpen our thinking, to speak truth into our life and to remember that life experiences are fairly narrow and there are other perspectives that can help keep us from making a mess of ourselves.