Foolish Words

The book of Proverbs is made up of a series of maxims. A maxim is a “concise rule of conduct, brief and to the point, stating much in a few words.” Have you heard the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” A maxim gives the mind a big picture in a few words.

Our maxim of the day is, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit” (Proverbs 26.4-5). Again, when to answer, or when not to answer, is another question.

As we start the day, there is not a one of us that wants to go home wearing a lampshade. We want to be “blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse germination, among whom ye are seen as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life” (Philippians 2.15-16). There’s a big difference in being a light and wearing a lampshade, but to do the former and not the latter, we need to govern our own words. Solomon put it this way: “In the multitude of words there wanteth not transgression; but he that refraineth his lips doeth wisely” (Proverbs 10.19), and Peter said, as he quotes the Psalmist, "He that would love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: and let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace, and pursue it” (1 Peter 3.10-11).

Dealing with the foolish is very delicate. When you encounter such, remember, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from trouble” (Proverbs 21.23): Guard the one and bridle the other.

Words of warning to the wise: “I say unto you, that even idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12.36-37).

Note: Ross Triplett is one of the preachers supported by Southside. He lives in Jones, Oklahoma.