King Solomon on Dealing with Fools

He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:7-10).

The saying of King Solomon contains an algorithm for proper interaction with humans.

Leave the foolish man with his stupidity. He can’t be made to change his mind, you can’t argue with him.

Walk past the ignoramus without denouncing him. He is not able to accept and accommodate the truth, but deliberately abides in illusions and lies that justify his delusions.

How many times have we seen that a dispute is a meaningless pastime. Every contender is left with his own opinion anyway. A heated debate results in devastation and frustration.

Conversation with the wise is something different. The one who fears God is a wise man. You can think and reason with him. He will not advise, teach, criticize, but rather will find a common, unifying topic without raising problematic, unnecessary questions.

He will always find something to learn and be grateful.

A fool is not always dumb, he may have knowledge, sometimes extensive. It doesn’t make him wise, though. Only humility can make a person wise. Knowledge without wisdom is a nutless shell.

A fool never humbles himself. He will prove himself right and justify himself in any situation. His eloquence will be unparalleled. He’ll find arguments, fudge the facts and come out innocent in any situation. Foolishness doesn’t admit its mistakes, and that’s its main characteristic.

Wisdom is the opposite of complacency or arrogance. A wise man is quiet, aware of his weaknesses, and remembers them constantly. Foolishness is loud, constantly boasting of its imaginary achievements.

A gifted man is not the one who got something, but the one who can give something away.


Recorded by Natalia Goroshkova.

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