Monday, November 21, 2011

Proverbs 12: 16 – Stop and THINK!

 I’ve chosen to title this post, “Stop and THINK!”  This verse seems to say that doing that, is the difference between being called a “fool” or being someone who is “prudent.”

Proverbs 12: 16 (NKJV)
       16 A fool’s wrath is known at once,
      But a prudent man covers shame. 

First, lets look at the definitions of the main words in this verse.  I used the online Free Dictionary by Farlex. 

fool:  1. One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.  2. One who acts unwisely on a given occasion

wrath:  1. angry, violent, or stern indignation  2. Punishment or vengeance as a manifestation of anger

prudent: 1. discreet or cautious in managing one's activities; circumspect 2. practical and careful in providing for the future  3. exercising good judgment or common sense

covers: 1. a. To protect or shield from harm, loss, or danger.  

shame:  1. a painful emotion resulting from an awareness of having done something dishonorable, unworthy, degrading, etc.2. an occasion for regret, disappointment, etc.

The first part of this verse says that “A fool’s wrath is known at once.”  As we see from the definitions, a “fool” is someone who is deficient in judgment and/or one who acts unwisely on a given occasion.  In this case, the occasion is one of ANGER, and can even be some kind of vengeance because of that anger.

An example of this would be the person who can’t control their temper and strikes out with a fist or something at the person they are mad at… or even at someone that is “in their way” during a fit of anger at something or someone else.  They are fools because they act before thinking, being carried away by their feelings instead of controlling them.  God calls these people, “fools!”

The second part of the verse contrasts the “fool” with the “prudent man.”  A prudent man is a person who is discreet or cautious in managing his activities.  This person exercises good judgment and common sense and is careful to provide for the future.  He doesn’t jump into things with “fists ‘a flailin’” but takes a step back and thinks about the next step and what it could mean for his future.

One of the definitions of “cover” is to protect or shield from harm, loss or danger, and this is the one that seemed to me to be the closest to the meaning in this verse in its context.  IF a person steps back and thinks things through, with an eye to the future, then they will want to protect or shield themselves, and/or those they love, from the loss or danger that comes with doing something dishonorable, unworthy or degrading.  

 They don’t want to have to look back on their actions with regret and disappointment in themselves and in what they have done.   They don’t want to have to say, “I’m sorry,” but want to be able to stand up as having acted honorably, so that they can be proud of themselves, and, more importantly, so that those they love, like God or their families, can be proud of them.

Lord, I ask that when trying situations come into my life, that I will STOP and THINK before I act or say something that I will regret later on.  Please give me wisdom in these situations.  Amen.