Daily Wisdom

Meditations on the Book of Proverbs

1 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,

   honor is not fitting for a fool.

2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,

   an undeserved curse does not come to rest.

 

 What is the proper response to a fool? Fools reject accountability, they are inconsiderate of others and of how their behavior affects them. They tromp down the path of risk, thinking they can avoid the troubles of those who have gone before them. They don’t learn from other’s mistakes, because they think they are smarter than them. Sometimes they do the right thing, but often at the wrong time. They blame others for the problems they’ve brought on themselves.

 If you have authority over a fool, you ought to discipline them. If you don’t, you should avoid them. Whatever you do, be careful how you reward them. Rain can damage ripe crops, and set back the work of the harvest. Honor does the same to a fool. If he was close to admitting his faults, honor will deter him. If you were close to a breakthrough in his discipline, honor will set you back.  

 “Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.” The fool is quick to curse, but he is ineffective. He shoots his arrows carelessly, invariably missing the mark. Instead of harming your reputation, he only hurts his own. Your anger is wasted on him, even if you are trying to help. He only learns things the hard way. If anything, he ought to be pitied.

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