You don’t hear the word “folly” used much now a days…to the point I had to look it up for the correct definition. According to Webster, folly means a lack of good sense, a foolish act or a stupid idea. So we may not call it folly today, but yet we can see a lot of it across social media! People taking chances and performing dangerous acts on a dare, or acting the fool in front of a camera without thinking first how it might impact their life tomorrow. Proverbs 13:16 tells us that, “a fool exposes his folly.” So think about it – anytime you act on a foolish idea before you first think about the consequences…you risk revealing just how stupid you look to others.
In this commercialized world where we are constantly bombarded by advertising telling us to “Buy! Buy! Buy!” … this verse stands in stark contrast. In fact, elsewhere in Proverbs, the author is even more emphatic when he writes , “Wisdom and understanding are more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” (Proverbs 3:13-14) So what he’s saying is that our choices have eternal consequences…that by choosing wisdom and understanding, they will yield better and lasting benefits…that material possessions are not what make us who we are…and by choosing wisdom and understanding over riches – the result will be a life marked by purpose, and peace…not things.
What goes around, comes around…or better yet, you look for trouble, and it’ll find you. Or elsewhere, in Psalm 7:16 to paraphrase, “The trouble you cause will return back to you…the violence you create will come down on your head.” But if we seek what is good and morally right, we will receive favor…favor before God…and favor before men. And as we seek good, not only are we changed, but what we seek changes…for we are aligning ourselves with the Holy Spirit and seeking God’s Will, not our own.
We all have things we’ve done that we’re not proud of. Lapses in our character where we actually thought we could hide willful sins…but God saw everything. And the longer we attempt to cover-up and rationalize sin, the harder it is to admit we’ve crossed the line. David in Psalm 32:5 told the Lord, “I acknowledge my sin to You, and do not cover up my iniquity.” The first part of David’s confession was Relent. We need to yield to God and admit we’ve messed up. The second part was Repent. There needs to be true remorse and shame for our sin. We’re sorry for what we’ve done, not just sorry we got caught. Finally, we need to Remove the sin from our life…by whatever means it takes. By keeping a short account with God, we won’t find ourselves outside His Will and far from His compassion.
I look at the unethical and immoral activity in the world today and I think to myself, “God, don’t You see this and aren’t You going to do something?” It’s then that He gently reminds me that, #1…God doesn’t see as we do. (Job 10:4) and #2…His eyes are on the ways of men, He sees their every step. (Job 34:21) The wicked of this world may think they’re getting away with their evilness…but God is still watching. And in the end, Hebrews 4:13 tells us, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” There is coming a day of reckoning for all of us…the good as well as the bad…the righteous as well as the unrighteous.
Romans 12:17 tells us to, “not repay anyone evil for evil”…and I Corinthians 13:6 reminds us that, “Love doesn’t delight in evil.” The war of words is waged on a bloody battlefield… with many casualties and walking wounded that never recover from the pain inflicted by unkind and caustic words. When we simply take a moment and answer a mean verbal attack with kindness instead…it defuses the situation immediately…for we deprive the enemy of ammunition.
You can ask my husband, I intentionally engage checkout clerks, wait staff and anyone else who may be helping me. I am polite and courteous, asking how their day is going and allowing them to talk. I ask thoughtful questions and encourage them with kind-hearted words. The other day I was speaking to a sleepy looking cashier at a large retail store…come to find out he had worked until 1am and was back again at 4am for his next shift. Sadly, we become so focused on our own agenda…our own needs…our own impatience – that we totally forget that it’s another human being standing in front of us, with their own story. I challenge you this holiday season to give a kind word to all those assisting you…for you don’t know how it may cheer them up.