“People. . . people . . . people . . . .”

So? If not people, then what?

“I don’t know—I’m just plain disgusted with people!”

How come?

“They keep letting me down.”

Well, is that all their fault or do you bear some responsibility for choosing undependable ones?

“What do you mean?”

Listen to Proverbs 26:6, “He who sends messages by the hand of a stubborn fool, cuts off his own feet and drinks injury.”

“Wow! That’s strong language.

But probably just the language you need to hear. There is, of course, no excuse for the fool’s negligence. He is definitely to be condemned if he assumes a responsibility that he doesn’t fulfill. But you have a responsibility to choose wisely when depending on someone to do a task.

“Hmmm. I guess that’s right. What’s the ‘drinking injury’ mean?”

When you drink something, you are pouring it into yourself. That is, you injure yourself. To enlist a fool, is to guzzle down injury.

“I think I get the ‘cutting off feet” bit—I might as well have none to get if I depend on him to get it done. He’s no help–no feet to take the place of mine.”

Yea—something like that.

“How can I tell whether one is likely to be undependable?”

Did you notice he is called a ‘stubborn’ fool?

“Oh. I missed that.”

There are three words for fool used in the Hebrew of Proverbs: a stubborn fool, a stupid fool, a shameful fool, each (in that order) worse than the one before it. You may not realize it, but much foolishness is the result of stubbornness—the fool has his own ideas about how to do something (usually wrong ones), but won’t listen to reason when you suggest otherwise. So, if someone is stubborn about matters that you understand, avoid using him for a task. That’s one way to tell.

“Well. That’s helpful.”

I’m glad you think so, or you’d probably fill the bill; yourself!


The Christian Counselor’s New Testament and Proverbs, translated by Jay Adams

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