Daily in the Word: a ministry of Lancaster Baptist Church
by Dr. Paul Chappell
"If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest."
Some three hundred years before the birth of Christ, a Greek king named Pyrrhus of Eiprus was trying to resist the invading Roman armies. Pyrrhus was a gifted tactician, and he was able to defeat the Romans twice during what came to be known as the Pyrrhic War. But though he was victorious, his armies suffered very heavy casualties. According to Plutarch, when he congratulated Pyrrhus on his victory after the second battle, he said without joy that one more such victory would utterly undo him. Some battles are simply not worth winning.
Anyone who has interacted with a fool understands this truth. No matter what you do—how carefully you plan your words, how logically your arguments are, or how right your position may be—the fool simply will not listen. You cannot convince such a person because they are not willing to listen to wisdom and truth. No communication strategy is effective—neither humor nor anger will make your point.
There is a saying among businesses that deal with outside inspection and licensing: “Arguing with an inspector is like wrestling a pig in the mud. Sooner or later you figure out that the pig enjoys it.” The same is true when we find ourselves forced to deal with fools.
None of us have complete control over our lives. We cannot completely avoid having to deal with foolish people. But when you recognize that as the situation you face, remember that you are facing a no win situation. The best course of action is to end the conversation as quickly as possible and spend your time with those who are willing to learn and teach wisdom.
Surround yourself with wise men and women, and spend as little time arguing with fools as possible.
Old Testament Reading: Psalm 126-128
New Testament Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:19-33
A Song of degrees.
1 When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. 2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. 3 The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
4 Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. 5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
A Song of degrees for Solomon.
1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. 3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
A Song of degrees.
1 Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. 2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. 3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. 4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. 5 The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. 6 Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.
19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. 22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth. 25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: 26 For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. 27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. 28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof: 29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience? 30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. 2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. 3 Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance. 4 The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it. 5 A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet. 6 In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice. 7 The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it. 8 Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath. 9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest. 10 The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul. 11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. 12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked. 13 The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes. 14 The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever. 15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. 16 When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall. 17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul. 18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. 19 A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer. 20 Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him. 21 He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length. 22 An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. 23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. 24 Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not. 25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe. 26 Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD. 27 An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.