“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.”
While this may seem like a contradiction at first, these verses show us that there are two different situations for one simple Truth.
There is a right way to answer a fool.
Sometimes silence is the best option; while at other times, a response is in the other person’s best interest, regardless of their response.
“A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;”
“But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not.”
If answering a fool involves agreeing with him and his actions, then we are simply not to answer him at all. Reacting positively to his foolishness encourages him to continue in his sin.
1 Samuel 25:33
“And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.”
If answering a fool includes a reproof against his actions, then we are justly encouraging him to correct his folly.
“He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.”
When we allow ourselves to yield to the Lord for His direction, He will give us the Wisdom of how to respond.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Whether we are led to speak or remain silent, we must wisely seek Him to find the best response.
2 Samuel 11-12 | 1 Corinthians 7 | Proverbs 20
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