wisdom and folly, boys and girls


In Proverbs 26:4 we read “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself” but then in the next verse, Proverbs 26:5 we read “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes”. So are we to give an answer or not? The answer, is that we are always to give an answer, the issue here is how we answer.

When a fool reasons, he reasons foolishly and if we answer him according to his type of reasoning we become like him in our reasoning, or at least the person thinks that we think like him. So we are called to not answer a fool according to his folly, that is with the same type of foolish reasoning. Rather we are to answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes, that is with wisdom. The point here, is that when we point out to fools their foolishness, with the wisdom of God, they begin to see that they are no match and they are trying to punch above their weight. They trip themselves up, like the fool who says “there is no truth”, they do not stop to think if what they have said is true. For if it is true, it can’t be true and if its false, then there is such a thing as truth.

When we ask the fool if what he said is true, when he said “there is no such thing as truth”, we are answering not a fool according to his folly, because we see the error he is making. But we are at the same time answering the fool according to his folly, that is we are deciding to address it head on with wisdom, lest he carries on thinking he is some kind of smarty pants.

When boys think that they can think themselves in to being girls and girls can think themselves into being boys, foolishness is on display. When governments pass laws protecting such folly, their foolishness also is on display. This is where we need to know how to answer because the proverbs teach us that we cannot leave them without a wise answer. To do so would be for them to go away thinking that they are correct in what they think and believe. Here then is the challenge, because we are not free as the people of God to not give an answer or to give an answer that affirms what they think, we must give an answer.

We are challenged concerning our conviction and commitment to the truth and our neighbour, and it does not help simply to sideline this as a secondary issue and the issue here is not gender, it’s foolishness in the place of wisdom which is being demonstrated through the issue at hand.


By Daniel Ralph

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