A scoffer does not like to be reproved;
he will not go to the wise.
– Proverbs 15:12 ESV
The word “scoffer” stuck out to me today. It’s a negative identifier, but not immediately connected in my mind with fools, which is the main antagonist in Proverbs. I’d say a scoffer is someone who speaks many critiques without any intention of rebuilding. They bring their complaints about a person to the rest of the world at least as quickly as to that person. Their negative thoughts toward people sour their impressions of those who may not deserve it. Their rage against those who have wronged them spills over onto the innocent.
This verse is saying that being a scoffer puts you on the fast track to being a fool because it cuts you off from wise people.
I’m able to quickly define a scoffer because I often am one. And it does keep me from opening up to wise people in my life. They influence me in their sermons but I keep them at arm’s length because I don’t want to see if they have any of the same issues I’ve found so unattractive in others. Of course, they have those issues. They’re not superhumans. I also have them, and the more I scoff the more of my issues come to the surface.
You, Jesus, are the only wise man who is perfect. And even you were scoffed at by lesser men like me. If we can find something to scoff at you about, it proves that our scoffing is ultimately not worth the breath. Help me stay away from always looking for the wrong in people and begin praising you for all the good found in them. Just as I’ve lost wisdom from being too critical, help me gain wisdom by admitting to myself I’m poor in it and need your wise, flawed, human leaders to guide me.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.