by Kevin Pauley
His wife said to him, "Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!" - Job 2:9 HCSB
Conversing with a fool within the terms of his folly is to lower oneself to his level and to accept his outlook upon life as one worthy of consideration. We should answer a fool, patiently and quietly answering his questions and arguments, so that the foolishness of the proposition is revealed. However, we cannot allow ourselves to get dragged into their methods. We are stewards of God’s time and resources. We should not foolishly allow them to waste too much of either.
We also need to take into account that the ungodly heart cannot truly be satisfied. There is no end to a human heart’s deceit or desire. At some point, we simply need to quit and do what is right whether it’s appreciated or not.We need to commit ourselves to following the Scriptures that are not just useful for direction in life but can actually give us insight into the motivations and intents of the human heart!
A godly person will not allow themselves to be goaded into losing control of their tongues. The hallmark of a tzaddik is self-control. Anger and frustration is allowed, but it cannot be allowed to drive us to sin. In our frustration, we must not yield to the temptation to speak half truths or whole lies in order to get out of some conflict or in order to cause them to yield to our way. Whatever happens, we must not seek vengeance for wrongs suffered. We must not cross the line.
Thankfully, we are not required to make peace at all costs. Paul instructs, “If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.” “Pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.” We should work toward peace, and do what is required to nurture it. But it takes two to tango and if the other person will not cooperate with right living then we should be ready to endure the conflict.
A wise person will marshal their thoughts before approaching the ungodly. We should write them down in right order so that the wisdom of their proposal can be clearly and easily demonstrated. It also allows them to keep on track in spite of all the varying ideas. It would also be a good idea to make the ideas as attractive as possible, building in little gifts of time, services or other concessions.
However, while we should be willing to yield or concede on many matters, we must keep in mind that true love is demonstrated by doing what is right. True love does not yield to sin. We should not let our exhaustion get the better of us but instead should faithfully keep to the right path. If we yield to ungodly advice simply out of sheer exhaustion or a desire to escape conflict, we will reap the consequences of following ungodly advice.
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Kevin Pauley is a pastor and writer. He lives in Illinois with his wife, Lynn, their five children and two dogs. His internet address is Berea.
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