The vexation of a fool is known at once,
but the prudent ignores an insult.
“What did you say about me?”
“Are you laughing at me?”
“Don’t ignore me!”
The vexation of a fool is known at once because his focus is on himself. He is bothered when his opinion is not highly regarded; he is attentive to the attention he receives or doesn’t receive. His primary concern is not contributing, but getting “his due.” Thus he is frustrated a lot. Most people are not free with compliments anyhow, and a fool will receive even less.
The prudent ignores an insult because he is not wrapped around his ego. An insult loses its power to sting when aimed at a truly humble person, i.e. someone whose focus is serving and glorifying God. The prudent also recognizes the cost of paying attention to an insult. It costs emotional energy to dwell on an insult; it costs valuable time that could be used productively. The prudent ignores the insult because insults are foolishly spoken, and it is a waste of time trying to respond to foolishness. Insults are either spoken by fools with whom one cannot reason, or spoken in a foolish moment by the wise, who will recognize their own folly and repent as they come to their senses.
Thus Jesus was able to withstand the many insults hurled at him. His focus was on doing the will of his Father and carrying out the work given him. He knew the hearts of men and ignored their foolish ways. The times that he did respond, however, was not to vindicate himself, but to publicly vindicate his Father and the truth. Even then, he did not brood on the insults of the Pharisees and other enemies, but committed himself to the love and keeping of his Father.
How will you handle insults and slights that may come your way today? Keep your eyes on your Lord, and you will find yourself better able to be prudent and ignore the darts sent your way.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2022 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org