Wisdom From Scripture
In the Book of Proverbs in the old Testament, there is a verse that goes:
“Rebuke a fool and he will hate you,
Rebuke a wise man and he will love you.”
The truth often times is a bitter thing to hear people don’t want their lives disrupted by new (better) information that comes along. Things are going well is is they think to themselves, now with this information I’m confronted with the ugly reality that I may need to change, and it is you who is rebuking (criticizing) me that is confronting me with this inconvenience that threatens to disrupt my life.
Because that is the way people are, once we have a set way of doing things we like to keep it that way. It’s comfortable and we are creatures of habit. Now the person that rebukes is putting the other person on the spot and changing how things are done leads to a great deal of uncertainty and the average person will hat how their routine has been uprooted.
A Human Truth
Now the beauty of this small section of proverbs is that it speaks to human nature. That being that we don’t like to change, but not only that, change must occur from within, no one else can force that upon us.
This fool that Proverbs speaks on does not want to change, and you criticizing them only leads to them hating you. We are after all creatures of emotions, filled with fear, anger, sadness and insecurities. Any criticism, no matter how well intentioned, can be seen as a personal attack on how this individual lives and acts.
Such individuals are likely guilty of detrimental actions and they seek to hide from reality through lashing out at any judgement or rebuke. So really there is nothing to gain from trying to assist them in this way. Therefore, leave them be, smile and nod at their foolishness’, but remain silent, because ultimately, you can’t save them.
Of course Proverbs continues by saying that the wise will love you for your objective criticism. Scripture has a lot to saying that the wise will love you for your objective criticism. Scripture has a lot to say about wisdom so I’ll leave it at that so I’ll stay in the realm of the secular by ending with a quote.
“A smart man learns from his mistakes,
but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”
Kingston S. Lim
June 10, 2021
San Francisco, California