February 20

“Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 26:12)

Have you seen the movie “Akeelah and the Bee?” It’s about a smart high-school girl from a low-income family who enters her school spelling bee and wins.  Dr. Larabee, a former professor, and speller himself challenges Akeelah to continue competing. However, he is dealing with some personal issues by being tough on Akeelah and dismisses her from his coaching for her insolence. At this point, she calls him dictatorial, truculent, and supercilious. Akeelah is accusing Dr. Larabee of being tyrannical, inflexible, hostile, argumentative, arrogant, and condescending. Her apology for being “so insolent” is meant to be ironic, not disrespectful. * It turns out though, they have both been wise in their own eyes, and disrespectful toward each other. According to the Bible, there is more hope for fools than for these two self-righteous characters.

We may not all be dictatorial, but we are frequently self-righteous, certain that our opinions are the only correct ones in politics, social issues, relational challenges, and biblical insights. Our views are often not based on being educated and well-informed or having applicable experience. Instead, they are founded on reactionary thinking and convenient philosophies. There is more hope for a fool than for us when our self-convincing stances trap us.

A fool, according to Proverbs, is one who does fear God or trust in him. This is the worst possible status, according to the Bible, since without God there is no hope for any significance in this life or life continuing after death. And yet our verse above states that there is more hope for a fool than for someone who is self-righteous. A fool can be saved. On the other hand, a professing Christian who isn’t regenerated but believes she has been justified in Christ may never be willing to hear the gospel with the humility for salvation.

Proverbs 12:15 states, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Do you accept this wisdom? Will you request and then listen with humility to the advice of godly teachers, mentors, elders, friends, and family members?

* You can view this scene at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdDUhHl-BzM

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