A Fool and a Prudent Man … Does Scripture Contradict Itself?

A fool displays his annoyance at once!

I woke up today burdened with a situation that recently happened…again! I’m all too familiar with this particular scenario. I immediately started reading some books I have on my shelf about relationships, but I distinctly felt that Jesus wanted to speak to me. So I opened up the Word instead! I found Proverbs 12:16, and I have been thinking about this passage all morning.

“A fool displays his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult” (Proverbs 12:16)!

The Message Bible puts it this way: “Fools have short fuses and explode all too quickly; the prudent quietly shrug off insults.

 According to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary (my personal favorite), the words “fool” and “prudent” are defined as:

FOOL (n.) = “In Scripture, fool is often used for … one who acts contrary to sound wisdom … one who follows his own inclinations, etc.”

PRUDENT (adj.) = “Cautious; practically wise; careful of the consequences [of his/her]…actions!”

So, in the end, I really do want to be prudent and not to always immediately display my annoyance. But how do YOU know when it’s time to talk to someone or just let it go? I’ve run into this situation again and again. It could simply be a misunderstanding, but the same thing keeps happening. To me, the word “insult” implies motive. I don’t think this person is trying to insult me; however, I do believe their actions and words are inconsiderate and leaves me feeling insignificant and unimportant. 

What about the Matthew 18 Principle? Matthew 18:15-20 gives clear guidelines as how to handle a fellow believer who has sinned against you. Go to him. If he doesn’t receive what you are saying, take two or three others with you. If he still doesn’t receive what you are saying, take it to the church. (How much “junk” in the church would be eliminated if we really did follow through with these principles God set forth in His Word?!)

What about the blueprint laid out for us in I Corinthians 13 which shows us what love looks like.  “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut. Love doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”

Side Note: I’ve always known we are not to keep records of the wrongs done to us by others; however, I am usually blindsided when it comes to these kinds of situations. I don’t think I would be if I just remembered that this is how they do things!

What are your thoughts on these three Scriptures and how would you handle a recurring situation that offends you? I don’t want to be a fool! I want to live in light of the Scriptures! I certainly don’t want a bitter root growing in my heart and hurting others including myself. I know on the surface, Scripture can look like it contradicts itself; however, I also know that God’s Word is ABSOLUTE truth and will never lead you astray!

Looking Forward to Hearing Your Thoughts,