Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes. He cuts off his own feet and drinks violence Who sends a message by the hand of a fool. Like the legs which are useless to the lame, So is a proverb in the mouth of fools. Like one who binds a stone in a sling, So is he who gives honor to a fool. Like a thorn which falls into the hand of a drunkard, So is a proverb in the mouth of fools. Like an archer who wounds everyone, So is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by. Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly. Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.It just struck me... you answer a fool according to his folly for one reason: so that he doesn't become wise in his own eyes--that is the real danger! God hardly makes it clearer... He is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). We have been reading in Revelation during family devotions and I don't know about you, but I don't much like the idea of God being opposed to me. It wouldn't be honest to say that pride is not an issue in my heart. It most certainly is. I like to be right. I like to win. I like to have a plan and watch it work perfectly. I like to be honored.
I believe that all these desires are not wrong in and of themselves... actually, I think that God gave these desires. So often, we try to kill desires that are God-given rather than looking at them through His eyes... through Biblical glasses and "taking into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." Throughout scripture, He talks about many of these things in a positive way:
The desire to be "right" is a good one... "The Lord will repay each man for his righteousness and his faithfulness"(1 Samuel 26:23).I know exactly what you are thinking... but, Daniel, your desires mentioned above are not good ones. Let me say that the desires are good... even from God, but the heart and how I use those desires is far too often pride-filled. As I look at these verses, I can't help but notice that what God wants me to understand about these desires that He has given me is that they are supposed to humble me. I am supposed to be "right" in the fullest sense... I am supposed to live righteously. Living "right" is submitting to Him--humility! My desire to win isn't supposed to be for my own fame, it is to prove one more time that God is faithful to help me keep running when I clearly can't on my own strength--humility! My desire to make good plans and see them come to pass should not turn me to pride in my own wisdom, but realize that any wisdom is from the Lord and if "my plan" does come to pass, hopefully, it is because it is His will and He has done the work of grace to cause my heart to be in line with His--humility! The last one is the most obvious one... my desire to be honored should not be one that is based on my own merit (because I have none of my own), this desire must be fully reliant upon God because He knows when it is wise to honor me. He also knows when I need to be dishonored for my own good and for His glory to be renewed again in my heart.
The desire to "win" is a good one... "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win" (1 Cor. 9:24).
The desire to make good plans is a good one... "The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord" (Proverbs 16:1).
The desire to be honored is a good one... "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time" (1 Peter 5:6).
God, teach me true humility. Guard me against turning the desires that You give for Your glory into an opportunity to glorify myself in the eyes of men. Teach me to honor You not just with words, but with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. Cause me to love Your glory... make it my passion and joy. Do whatever it takes to glorify Yourself in me.