Should we answer a fool according to his folly?
Proverbs 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him
Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
Growing up, these two verses used to excite me, when I was taught paradox in English, this sounded like the typical example. It was open for debate, two contrasting verses placed side by side in a book that was meant to provide guidance. Do we obey the first command, or the last command? Or was this an error? Or as my studious friends will suggest, let’s check the greek root word for both fools, maybe they are different, maybe one is kesil and the other kelis…lol. But seriously, these are two opposite statements placed side by side in the greatest book of all times (my opinion – not far fetched though, it still holds the guiness book of records most printed, most sold, most retranslated and most in demand book in the world)
I believe strongly that the meeting point of any such paradoxes is wisdom. Wisdom is the right application of total available knowledge in the solution of problems. There are times to answer a fool according to his folly, and there are times to refrain from answering a fool according to his folly. The ability to know the difference in these times, is wisdom!
Permit me to speak authoritatively when I say that there are aspects of the human potential that are inaccessible to man until he is submitted to higher powers. Just like there are aspect of your drive that will never be tapped until you are emotionally propelled to prove a point, or like there are aspects of your creative genius that will not be tapped for as long as you are partially responsible for your life (totaly employed, living with parents, secure), in the same vein there are aspects of your human potentials for decision making that are less than best without submission to authority. If you don’t understand what you just read fully, that makes two of us…lol.
There are no straight one sentence all time answers to most of the problems in the world. As diverser as our fingerprints and retina scans, so are the solutions to seemingly similar problems common to man. Wisdom is the ability to understand your own current scenarios and make the very best decisions of it. Wisdom is one resource worth trading all you have for, because if you have gained wisdom, you can get everything else.
Money is good, it provides answers to all things. Wisdom also is good, as it provides answers also to all things. But wisdom exceeds money in that wisdom has the capacity to preserve the life of those that have it, while money cannot. Wisdom is the number one vital resource on earth, and anything that makes you desire anything ahead of wisdom is the lack of it.
How can one become wise?
Fear of God: The foundational requirement for wisdom is submission to higher authorities. It’s the belief that there is a God that deserves to be revered. It’s the belief that there is more to man, more to our current existence. It is subission to true north principles, submission to principles that are beyond self. Go and check it, every great man or woman had a strong sense of responsibility to higher powers. I won’t decieve you, wisdom is spiritual.
Desire: The starting point of all achievement is desire. That may sound very banal, but trust me, the day you desire a thing, is the day you start making deposits and sowing seeds to reap that very thing. The laws that govern the universe respond to desires. If the desire is strong, the work is half done. If you desire wisdom, you will pursue it, it will give you a healthy appetite for knowledge, you will search for it like gold.
Ask: During a meeting of top salespeople from around the country, the ‘big cheese’ himself, a man who’d consistently had the highest sales figures for the last 20 years, and who earned more money than even the owner of his company, got up to speak.
“I am now going to reveal the secret of my success,” he said. “I wrote it down on a piece of paper and I put it in this envelope. But success must be earned. So I’m going to sell the envelope to the highest bidder. You have my word that it contains what I said – the Secret of my Success, not only as a salesman, but also in life.”
The bidding started slowly… $5, then $10, then $50, $100, $130, $150, $200. Finally one of his colleagues bought the envelope for $1000. The happy buyer took the envelope and kept it to himself until he got home that night. Only then did he open it to learn THE SECRET OF SUCCESS.
What do you think was written on the piece of paper?
Think about it. Make a mental note of whatever comes to mind before reading the answer and in my opinion, what was written on that piece of paper, is worth much more than $1000. The winner of the auction tore open the envelope, unfolded the piece of paper and read the following hand-written words:
THE SUCCESS’ SECRET IS… TO ASK.
— Author Unknown
You will learn more from an hour with a wise man, than 10yrs of learning by experience. The bridge between your present and your future is your mouth… Ask