Proverbs 9:7-9. Mocker and Wise.
What separates the mocker from the wise is the simple, but apparently not so common trait of listening.
Naturally you would think that a fool, a mocker, a wicked person is in need of correction and rebuke.
Naturally you would think a wise person hardly if ever needs either of these.
But you’d be wrong. Very wrong.
If you try to correct a person who is by nature not open to anything resembling correction you are likely to be insulted, hated, or even hurt. Their folly is that they don’t and won’t listen. That is precisely why they are fools to begin with – nobody can tell them a thing. The Instruction of Ankhshehonqy (c200 BC) states, “fools cannot tell teaching from insult.”
But if you rebuke, correct or instruct a wise person they will grow in wisdom. It appears as if a wise person doesn’t need these means of help but this is why they are wise in the first instance – they do listen. They may not enjoy it but they recognize their own need of external recalibration and instruction.
A wise person is one who listens to their own need of wisdom. They are wise in as much as they don’t think they are wise. This is contrary to what it is imagined a wise person is. We’d thought that a wise person is already wise, already knows – instinctively. But this isn’t a definition of a wise person. On the contrary.
So then Wisdom isn’t so much a state as it is a process – a process that challenges and changes us. It is not a finished product so much as an attitude to life and learning.
People become wise or people become fools. If you listen you have a chance of becoming wise, and if you don’t you are likely going to become foolish. And both these qualities compound with time.
“Instruct the wise, and they will become even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.”