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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wise Guy - 2

Today I’m reading Proverbs 26:11. “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”

One of the best things about the wisdom of Proverbs is its simplicity. You don’t need thick volumes of rare books. You don’t need complex reasoning or sophisticated terminology. Real wisdom is quick and penetrates like a hot knife through butter. Like dogs and vomit. If you’ve been around dogs you know this is true – but we also need to know that in ancient cultures dogs were despised creatures, not beloved pets. They were street scavengers, like in much of the developing world today. So in ancient days that would have added another layer of “yuck” to this parable.

To be honest, I’ve done that. I do this. You know you’re barking up the wrong tree (continuing the dog imagery), but you keep doing it. There are things that I have believed or acted on that I knew weren’t true, but I didn’t want to face the truth. The first time you act on bad information, that’s sort of excusable. But when you know you’re thinking is askew and you act on that a second or third or fourth time. I guess we can be hoping for a different outcome THIS time, but how many times does it take before light dawns? This isn’t working out the way you hoped it would.

This happens for people so often in relationships where people keep hoping someone is going to change – they keep promising to change – but the change never comes; and that’s very tough on the person who’s been hoping to see the change. “How could I be so stupid?”

Facing our folly is very hard. It’s almost easier to keep the blinders on and to keep going back to that puddle of vomit. Facing our folly is painful because it means we have to admit we were fools. And nobody wants to face that. I don’t like to see that about myself. To feel stupid. To feel foolish. To feel ‘taken’ like a rube. We want to believe in our abilities to figure things out and to make the right decisions. So we avoid facing the truth far beyond what reason would excuse.

Part of the ‘wisdom’ in Proverbs is the ability to learn from one’s mistakes - and to learn quickly. Not after the fourth or fifth time. To learn from our rebukes and our missteps. It’s when we refuse to learn and make changes that foolishness really settles in.

So, the wise person learns from that vomit the first time. You don’ t have to go back to it, dwell on it, regurgitate it. You can move past it. Act different. Do something else.

Is there an area of your life where you are repeating the same folly over and over again? Maybe today is the day you move on and let it go.


Today’s prayer: Heavenly Father: You are my refuge and strength! It is because of you Lord that my strength rises as I wait on you. You renew my strength as only you can do! You cover me under the shadow of your wings. I thank you for love that endures all things; I will watch my words, I will repent of my sins and forgive just as you have forgiven me. I will not listen to the words of a fool nor give honor to them or their name. I will seek your face Lord; I will seek the wisdom of your written word breathed by you. I will watch my ways and seek your counsel in all my decisions. I will humble myself before you Lord because only you will lift me up in your timing. I will commit all my plans to you Father because only you can make my plans succeed. I will submit my struggles of procrastination to you. I will not fall into laziness. I thank you for the strength that comes to me through the power of Christ in me. I thank you Father for the strength that brings me peace. I thank you for my Lord and King Jesus and the victories you bring to my life. In Christ name I pray. Amen!

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