"4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes." NIV
This sounds contradictory, but it's not.
Some fools are filled with anger and mockery. They're not interested in truth. We can't shout into their self-deception without becoming angry and foolish ourselves.
Other times, correcting foolishness is absolutely essential.
Here's four things I'm learning:
1. Sometimes it's not my battle. Scripture says we should be prepared to answer everyone but it doesn't say we should answer everyone (Colossians 4:6; 2 Timothy 2:23-24). v.4
2. Sometimes it is my battle. I must respond, whether I think they'll listen or not (Ezekiel 2). v.5
3. Sometimes it's not good timing. I should wait for a person's anger to subside so they can listen to reason (Proverbs 27:14). v.4 & v.5
4. If I've repeatedly warned someone without success, it might be time to apply verse 4 (Titus 3:10).
Read more about these two verses at Got Questions.
Image: Billy Frank Alexander
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