A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet. An evil man is caught by sin, but the righteous one sings and rejoices. The righteous person knows the rights of the poor, but the wicked one does not understand these concerns. Mockers inflame a city, but the wise turn away anger. If a wise man goes to court with a fool, there will be ranting and raving but no resolution. Bloodthirsty men hate an honest person, but the upright care about him. A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man holds it in check. Prov 29:5-11 (HCSB)
Our tongue can be a gift or a curse depending upon how we use it and can control it. The Bible refers to it repeatedly, and warns us of the risk if we cannot control the words that roll off it.
Flattery is most often self-serving and is intended to persuade others to fulfill our wants and needs, but sooner or later people tire of empty words that lack true sincerity. In fact, consider that the words of a self-focused person seldom fall upon those who cannot help them in some manner. Those who are considered “poor” or “less fortunate” receive little investment of time from the selfish. Their words are not intended to encourage others who have needs greater than themselves.
Then there are those who seek to only find the wrong in everyone and they mock or talk against those who are in leadership in the community. The mocker cannot be satisfied unless they are stirring trouble to draw attention to themselves. However, the wise recognize the emptiness of such words and ignore the mocking. Even when the same person sends false accusations and the wise are brought to court by the empty words of the mocker, the foolishness will be revealed before the judge as the mockers words will fall on deaf ears even when delivered in anger and frustration.
An honest and wise person controls their temper, and they always remain calm when the mockers and fools of this world play out their schemes through their ranting and raving. The honest and wise trust in God to direct others (the righteous) to come to their aid; and the words of the fool falls harmlessly onto the unyielding ground.
The key to this passage is to recognize the flatterers, mockers, and fools of this world, and to understand their folly. How can we know? When we spend time seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, we discover God’s gift of His Spirit is guiding what we hear and respond to in our life. We never get angry at the flatterer, mocker or fool – we pray for them and seek that they realize the folly of their selfish schemes. A wise and honest person under God’s direction knows there is no worthy purpose trying to correct or argue with a fool.
Always think before we speak in response to the foolish words that are seeking a response. Never fuel that fire, but pray for the source to be changed. Make a positive impact without engaging in words but by your actions that honor God and His purposes.
“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.” Matt 6:5-8 (HCSB)