Proverbs 26:9

Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard
     is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

One would not normally think of a thorn bush as a weapon of choice. Here, the drunk is not merely grabbing a thorn bush and injuring himself. Rather, this insensible man somehow gets hold of a prickly thorn bush and starts flinging it around, endangering the well-being of those around him.

How is a fool with a proverb like this drunk with a thorn bush? A proverb is a wise saying, but a proverb in the mouth of a fool can become a dangerous thing to those who hear it from the fool, because the fool does not know how to use the wise saying wisely. He might offer it at an inappropriate time or misapply it. Worse, he might use the proverb as a weapon, intentionally bringing harm instead of healing. It not only matters what you say, it also matters how you say it and who says it! Wisdom in the hands of a fool can be a dangerous thing.

Jesus, the Wisdom from God, speaks to his people wise words in wise ways. He speaks to us wisdom from God that heals rather than harms. He does not break a bruised reed or snuff out a flickering wick. He may have things to say to us through his Word that may be difficult for us to hear, but he will always say them to us in a manner that is for our benefit and for his glory.

How can we apply this proverb and Jesus’ example to our own lives? Speak the truth in love. Do not use the truth as a bludgeon. Minister the word of God to the lives of people. Do not merely spout Scripture. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. When it is time to speak, do so with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). Be not merely speakers of the word, but doers of it as well (James 1:22). Do not be a fool. Be wise, and out of your wisdom speak wisdom.

© 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church.

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Dan Kunkle. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org