Proverbs 18:5-6

5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked

   and so deprive the innocent of justice.

6 The lips of fools bring them strife,

   and their mouths invite a beating.

 Partiality and justice are at odds with one another. There is a rabbinic saying which says “those who are kind to the cruel will end up being cruel to the kind.” There are two sides to every dispute, to which justice is the only appropriate resolution. If the verdict is just what claim is left? Yet if partiality is shown, what end is there to injustice? Thought it may be convenient in the moment, favoritism fails to settle anything. Not only is this not good in the individual case, it also degrades society as a whole. Injustice is like fire. If it is not contained, what will prevent it from consuming everything?

 “The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating.” Strife and punishment are fitting responses to fools. Without opposition, foolishness will only spread. Without punishment, the fool will never mature. It takes courage to oppose the fool, but what’s the alternative? Perhaps a season of difficulty is better than a lifetime of irritation.

 To allow foolishness to go unchecked is to ensure its spread, each day it will be increasingly difficult to deal with. Do you recognize the foolishness in your own heart? Are you actively opposing it? Indulge it and it will grow, deprive it and it will wither. Better to oppose it yourself, than to let it bring you strife and punishment from others.  

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