Google+ 12/15/12 Stay Out Of It!

Proverbs 26:17-19


 Interfering in someone else’s argument is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears.

Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon
Is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.”


Proverbs is an interesting and highly misunderstood book of the Bible.  Authorship of this book is the first thing that is often misinterpreted.  While many Bible scholars attribute this entire book to Solomon, it is obvious from Chapters 22:17, 24:23, 30:1, and 31:1 that other unidentified wise men, along with two that are identified (Agur and Lemeul), also shared in the composition of Proverbs.  The purpose of this book is often stated, but not followed.  Proverbs is written to clearly show the reader how to live life wisely and skillfully.  It is intended to be followed exactly and completely.  To this end, it covers many topics including family, death, life, discretion, eating, enemies, fear of the Lord, the fool, friendship, God, the heart and mind, the home, the king, knowledge, labor, law, lazy people, love, neighbors, peace, poverty, prayer, pride, riches, righteousness, sex, shame, sin, sleep, soul, spirit, the tongue, trust, the wicked, wine, wisdom, women, and words.  Do you think the writers left anything out?  Today's lesson is important.  The first verse tells us to "mind our own business!"  Many problems in the world today are made far worse by people who contribute their unwise counsel, making situations far worse.  Remember how the Bible says we should deal with conflict?  Let's play Jeopardy!  Bible discipline for $100, Alex.  The answer is "What you do when you have a conflict with a brother."  Alex, the answer is "What is, going to the brother you have the problem with and not to anyone else?"  Massive applause for the CORRECT answer.  So if this is true, why do we offer advise to someone about a problem they have with someone else?  Because we just can't bring ourselves to read Proverbs and pay attention!  Often when I counsel people, they bring up a group of people that have voiced their agreement with a painful and wrong situation or behavior.  It is sad, but we justify our evil behavior by getting others to endorse it.  Our Scripture verse today says stay out of it.  I must admit that I often use humor to assist in changing someone's mindset from a negative or painful situation.  It is a useful tool and it works well for me because of my sense of humor.  That is not what our Scripture lesson refers to today.  I have often observed people lying to someone about something, seeing their reaction, and then to save the feelings of both parties, simply proclaim "I was joking."  Our Scripture points out how damaging this is to people by comparing it to a madman shooting a deadly weapon.  Proverbs isn't kidding!  In marriage counseling, I caution couples to never say anything that they can't take back, particularly out of anger.  Remember, we are called to forgive any sincere apology.  Also remember that we are not often able to forget.  Permanent damage can be done by saying things that are hurtful to someone and then trying to make it a joke.  Heed the Scripture today because once it comes out of your mouth, there is definitely no taking it back.  While I use humor in my devotions and sermons, it is never "off the cuff" or at the expense of others. The countless people we hurt with tasteless jokes, particularly about different affinity groups is staggering and unnecessary.   In your personal Bible study time, commit some of it to Proverbs.  Read carefully.  Each chapter has multiple lessons to live by.  The next time we describe the book of Proverbs to someone, let's know in our hearts we have listened and followed, and not just declare that Proverbs is there.  Humor is so important and I am sure God knows that.  I often say that God has a sense of humor because of the circumstances that arise in my life.  Use humor wisely and keep in mind that not all of life is a joke.  Most importantly, the next time someone wants to get you involved in a conflict they have with someone else, be wise like Solomon and STAY OUT OF IT!