We’ve seen that he emphasizes that you communicate what comes out of your heart and that your heart overflows with what you think about and how you invest your life. People tell me they want to improve their communication and I’m happy to give them some pointers along the way, but the quickest way to improve your communication is to take care of the resentments and anger in your heart and to quit thinking selfish thoughts. If you think that way it’ll come out of your mouth as venom or will build up a wall in your heart and you will shut down and shut out your spouse from your life. Either way you won’t be any fun at a party or anywhere else for that matter.
Proverbs 16:22 Folly brings punishment to fools. People often think that God’s word is such a downer, written to take our fun away, but really it is just the opposite. God loves us and wants us to be blessed and He knows to the extent that we listen to Him is the extent we will find joy in our lives. The Apostle Johns says His commandments are not burdensome. His words are the very words of life. So you ignore them to your peril. Go ahead and ignore the commandment to honor the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. See how long it takes you to become completely addicted to whatever because you work 7 days a week and you need a day to recuperate and you don’t take one so you have to go to addictive behavior instead to get a superficial rest. Go ahead and mock your parents and see how long it takes you to completely ruin your life when you don’t take their advice. Go ahead and commit adultery and see how long it takes to you completely destroy your marriage and your kids’ view of you and your own view of yourself and how no one trusts you anymore. Go ahead and break the commandment to not steal and don’t work as hard as you should for your employer and really you are dead wood and you are not pulling your fair share and you are really stealing from your boss and see how long it takes you to get your sorry excuse for a worker fired. Go ahead and break the commandment not to covet and see how long it takes you to become completely broke from all the crap you keep buying and see how long it takes for your children to withdraw from you because you love with things instead of giving them your heart.
See how long.
Now try to communicate once you’ve broken all these commands and see how much your words are respected and notice how not too many people give you the time of day and how alone you are. And notice, also, how you tend to think your problems are everyone else’s fault and everyone ignores you and nobody understands you.
Your wickedness will punish you;
Your backsliding will rebuke you.
Proverbs 17:7 Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool. God takes a lot of senseless blame for all the hypocrites and evil in the world when we should be blaming fools instead. A fool is someone who either believes that God doesn’t exist so there is no one to answer to so I can do what I want or a person who believes that God exists, but that God doesn’t care or He’s weak so it doesn’t matter what I do, or a person who believes that God does, indeed, exist and will one day punish evil, but forgets that God will punish evil when the temptation comes and forgets that God will punish evil long enough to do the evil, or remembers point blank that God will punish evil in the face of temptation, but the temptation, the power of the now, has more power than the future certainty of eventual punishment and so they do what they point blank know is wrong and evil and self-destructive anyway. In any of these scenarios, it does not matter what the fool believes, because the fool will do what the fool will do regardless of the consequences. Whatever scenario you chose, the consequences are the same. Since most of the people on TV live their lives this way, why do we keep listening and watching them? What could they possible say that would be worth listening to? And since too many of us live our lives this way, also, why are we so surprised when our spouses don’t seem interested to hear what we have to say? What are we saying that is worth hearing? When you say wonderful words and your heart is full of lust or bitterness or greed or pride or selfishness, your words aren’t going to match your demeanor. You won’t be believed.
Proverbs 17:10 A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool. In grad school counseling students are taught that if a client doesn’t listen to you, then you are likely to blame and haven’t bonded with your client. This verse would suggest that at least some of the time, that point of view is a load of crap. There are some people that come to counseling loaded with themselves and aren’t for a minute going to let down their guard, not for the counselor, not for his spouse, or anyone else that speaks contrary to the desires of his heart. Pride cometh before the fall and it also cometh before the counselor and you gotta wonder sometimes what brought them through the door. I suppose we see this in couple therapy more than individual therapy. Unless the individual is court ordered to therapy, most individuals would be there for a specific purpose, but in marital counseling she could easily be bringing him against his better judgment or the other way around. What’s really dicey is when neither of them thinks they are wrong and they both want me to straighten the other out.
The most difficult cases are the idolaters.Modern day idolatry is pretty insidious.Pick your idol of choice: An affairee, porn, drinking, anger and self-righteousness are the most common in my office.The worst of them all is self-righteousness.If you are self-righteous you don’t need me because you are always right.You don’t need your spouse either.You don’t need no stinkin’ anyone else’s opinion.“I’m just a stubborn person” are the words of a fool.Pity the spouse who is married to someone who is always right.
If you are always right, why did you get married?Isn’t the whole idea of marriage: Two heads are better than one?You don’t know everything, you see things from a different point of view, and you compare notes so you make the right decision?Isn’t this one of the major reasons that married people do better than single people?So why do you get so upset when your spouse challenges your point of view?Isn’t that the whole idea?If you are single, no one cares.You can blunder along without any input, unless you are wise and have an accountability partner, a parent, a pastor, or a buddy to help you think things through.But if you are always right, you don’t need anyone else.
Careful. I’m writing these things for myself, because it’s too easy for me to slip into fool mold. These tendencies to write God off and do and think my own thing, these proclivities to ignore my wife’s wise warnings, this penchant for vegging in front of mindless media to relax, these are urges I fight within me, because I know there’s a better way. So be careful. Be careful when you read these things that you don’t say to yourself: Dr. Wall is right. My spouse needs to change like this! Wouldn’t that be the kicker? You read these things and get all mad and huffy because it reminds you of your spouse and now you are all self-righteous and smug. If you are doing that, welcome to Foolville. The mirror is laughing back.
We all need to fight the fool within.
Be very, very careful.
I hope, too, they prick a few consciences other than my own and help the reader see that there might be another way of living if he is going down a path that is not helpful or to encourage the reader who’s already headed in a direction of healing and needs some pats on the back or some practical insights along the way.That summarizes my goal nicely: To Goad and To Encourage.
Sometimes this blog is me thinking out loud. I don’t know what I think so I start writing about it to think it through. Just as when you are having a conversation with the friend and you say something you’ve never said, and you get one of those ah-ha moments and your thoughts on that subject have moved in a different, and hopefully, better, direction, so too, this happens to me when I’m writing.
This new series of blogs on what the book of Proverbs says about communication is a case in point. I’ve been thinking for some time now that communication isn’t always about technique. This is pretty humbling to me because I pride myself on teaching communication techniques to couples and, indeed, our company is called “Heart to Heart Communication!” I’m pretty good at teaching technique to couples on how to create an atmosphere so that positive communication can take place, how to say what they need to say in a way that can be heard, how to talk about things when the two of them disagree, and how to make decisions when they disagree. I’ve taught this to 1000’s of couples. It’s pretty rewarding and fun to see couples reach a different place and start to thrive in their relationship.
But I can’t help everyone with this.If you are drunk or in the middle of an affair or madder than a pistol or your mind is filled with lustful thoughts from continual exposure to pornography, or have a habit of lying, all the great communication techniques in the world aren’t going to help you communicate.As we’ve been saying, you ARE communicating no matter what.It’s just that if you want to communicate “positively” you are going to have to have a heart that is not wading around in the sewer.If your mind or life is the latter, your communication is going to stink.You’ll still have plenty of communication going on, it’s just not going to bring any blessing to anyone, least of all yourself.What you say will reveal your heart…eventually.
This is what the following verse is trying to say:
Proverbs 15:2 The mouth of the fool gushes folly.
There it is in black and white. What you say will reveal your heart. It’s like red die in the washing machine. Everything that comes out will have that tint to it. You can hide this for a while. But sooner or later what you say will reveal your heart. So, be warned to be careful what you think.
Those resentful thoughts you are nurturing against your mother-in-law or your boss or your child or your spouse?Someday, it’s going to come out like a flood.Beware the souls downriver from your tirade. Those lustful thoughts you are having about your co-worker or those pics online or that movie star you keep googling?Your words will eventually reveal that your mind spends way too much time in the gutter.You can’t hide that forever.This is how seemingly upright people end up with sexual abuse charges on their sorry butts.Or you say something that will literally get you fired.
Who of us has hearts that are pure?What your heart is filled with, it will overflow with.You think such and such?Then that’s what your mouth will speak.Eventually.
I had to learn this the hard way.I like to zero in on a topic of interest and really hone in on it and figure it out.I usually try to pick topics that will make my life better.You could have guessed this already.The last few years I’ve been honing in on the topic of money and read a bunch on it, mostly because I was ignorant and I was getting too old to be ignorant on it and I needed to be more conscientious and wise about it.I’ve blogged about that topic at length and it’s easy now to dialogue about it because I have a much larger knowledge base.I’m sure my family is getting me sick of me talking about it and wishes I’d start reading about something else!Eventually, I’ll reach a saturation point and move on to some other topic.
In a particular time in my life I read at length about a pretty negative topic. It was interesting, educational, even fascinating, but a bit gross and not very uplifting. Okay, it was depressing. I’d read like ten books on the subject. During that time I was at a family gathering and I started talking to a loved one about this subject, because this is what I’d been thinking about in my spare time, and I could tell by the look on my relative’s face that what I was saying wasn’t what I should be saying. I decided that day to quit reading on that subject. I’m still interested in it, but I don’t want those thoughts spilling out of my mind.
I’m feeling the same way about TV. So much drivel. So much negativity. So many self-righteous people scoffing at so many reprobates, on and on, the same song, second, 100th, millionth verse.Enough.Take your gossip elsewhere.I’ve got better things to think about.I don’t want that spilling out the sides.I hope I have better things to think about than that.
This is a REALLY scary thought: You can tell what channel a person is watching or radio program he is listening to by what he talks about!YIKES!I had a friend who loved blue cheese.He ate it every day at the company cafeteria, until he went to the doctor and the doctor looked at the blood test from my friend and asked him if he liked blue cheese.My friend freaked.Yes, why do you ask?The doctor said it was in his blood!CREEPY!He quit eating blue cheese after that.
Hey, maybe it’s time you quit a few things also.You want this crap spilling out of your mouth and onto your kids and your spouse and your coworkers and them really thinking this is who you are?
What are you thinking about? What are you filling your mind with? Enough. It’s time to fill your mind with something else. Cool it with the hurt and the pain and the nurturing of your wounds and the resentments and the shortcomings of everyone else and how everyone else has hurt you and is out to get you and woe is me I’m going to eat some worms. Enough. ENOUGH!
Recently, we’ve been looking at communication in the ancient writings of Solomon that have been handed down to us. He wrote a lot more than we see in the book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, so we’re getting the cream of the crop. We’ve noted that Solomon uses the word “fool” to describe someone who has no internal restraint and let’s their baser self control his life and has no regard for what God has said or demands, and, indeed, could care less. The fool makes up his own law and the law of a fool is whatever he thinks or feels is right. This means that if you have an opinion that would differ from a fool that they will immediately be offended.
Imagine, then, a family where everyone is living according to his or her own internal feelings without any outside moorings and we have a family that will be in chaos and in therapy. I’ve had to tell more than one person over the years, that unless they get a little dose of morality here, there’s not a lot I can do. For example, if someone has convinced himself that his affair is fine, anything I or anyone else will say that would counter that (like maybe, ah, it’s WRONG) will cause the person who is having an affair and thinks it’s fine and dandy to rant and rave and have a little temper tantrum and act all self-righteous and persecuted and storm off in a huff. So much for communication. Now if the person who had the affair believes that it was wrong and that he shouldn’t have had the affair, then we can start communicating positively and maybe even get somewhere.
The proverb at the start of this blog explains how this scenario plays out in people’s lives. God gave us his Word and continually pricks our consciences and if you ignore both, you do so at your peril.God’s Word is not there to take away all your fun.It’s there to protect you and your loved ones from destruction, because sin and selfishness lead to places you wouldn’t want to go were you to think it through.
For example, our society ignores the biblical notion that nakedness outside of the privacy of marital sexuality between a husband and a wife (i.e. a male and a female) is shameful and wrong and idolatrous and a scandal and we’ve made pornography a legal and socially protected right.Here’s a young man exposed to this stuff at a young age and his baser self says wow, that felt great, because God gave to him the gift of pleasure when he looks in the future at his wife in the privacy of their own bedroom.This fire of desire was designed to stay in the fireplace, but as soon as this young man starts looking at the hundreds of naked women and men out there on the internet doing unspeakable acts with whomever and with whatever gender the fire starts to burn down his scruples and his ability to think clearly and make wise choices.Meanwhile, as he’s looking at all these naked people his conscience kicks in, too, because God has left His imprint in our souls and his, too, and this young man has conflictual thoughts.He thinks, wow, this feels good and holy crap, I feel like crap when I do this.
So what does he do with those bifurcated thoughts? Society keeps touting it’s fine, it’s fine. Porn keeps yelling come in here, come, my son, and feast on my delights, and his conscience says to him, you are one selfish prick. If he’s wise he’ll listen to his conscience and stop the nonsense and figure out a way to keep the fire of his desire in the fireplace and if he’s a fool he will continue to feed the flames of his desire, which, he quickly discovers, is unquenchable. The fire wants more and more fuel.
So he looks more and more and eventually he gets married and while he’s courting or maybe after his marriage to his young and very beautiful bride, he stops the selfish porn thing for a while, but then his baser self starts calling to him again and saying to him that he’s not getting enough sex from his young and very beautiful bride that he promised to be faithful to till death us do part and pretty soon (about six months after the wedding) he starts doing porn again and he has this renewed battle with his conscience and his baser self: It feels great and I’m a stupid fool and these conflictual, internal messages make him feel angry with himself and surly with everyone else, especially his young and very beautiful and desirable wife, whom he starts to not desire so much because she’s starting to irritate him, mostly because he has no sexual energy left over for her or he’s upset with her she doesn’t do all these insane and often immoral things that are broadcast in his pornified mind, but also because she has some really good ideas on how to make their lives better, because God gave her to him to bless his life, just as he gave him to her to bless her life, but instead of seeing and being a blessing, he sees a curse and becomes a curse, because he’s looking at her through the eyes of the sewer in his brain and when he does that all her longings are laced with demands and so he has these unexplainable blowups and she can’t understand why he’s so self-absorbed and ignores her and now he rarely wants to be sexual with her because unbeknownst to her he’s thinking of, and acting upon on average, a 1000 other naked men and women a week, so his mind is going 1000 miles an hour on all his selfish thoughts and they won’t stop long enough for him to even notice her concerns let alone the flowers or the dishes or the rainbow or the laundry that needs folding, so they start fighting and not having sex and he starts not coming to bed because he’s off taking care of his needs instead and she’s feeling lonely and neglected and getting madder by the day and this all at the hand of his believing the lie that porn is fine and whatever he does in secret is fine and there is no morality and the baser things get, the better, and his conscience gets quieter and quieter and the search for eternal pleasure gets louder and louder and more demanding and then one day he comes home in humility, early from work and she’s surprised to see him home already and she notices his head is hanging and he’s a young man, but he looks somehow old and defeated and his sail unfurled and he sits on the couch with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands as he weeps and sobs and tells her he was just fired for looking at porn at work.
So much for the notion that porn is fine. Turns out his conscience wasn’t lying after all and that his baser self was the one that was lying and he played the fool and now he’s got folly as a result.
You think you can plant seeds of selfishness in your heart day after day and a bill will never come due?
Of course, this story doesn’t end when his folly is found out. Now his still young and very beautiful and desirable wife has to deal with it, the lies, the deception, the rejection, the anger, the competition from people neither of them will ever know, the constant images in his brain that circle round and round if he will let them, the character flaw, the disappointment, the embarrassment, the financial stress, the heartache, the unrelenting nagging anger and resentment, and the disheveled mess of a husband. He was on a pedestal and she’d bragged about him to her mom and girlfriends and it’s all a ruse and his image in her mind has come crashing down and shattered in a million pieces all over the floor. And how’s he supposed to stop? You’ve been doing this since you were 14? And now you are 24 or 34 and you’ve been doing this on a regular basis for 10 or 20 years and now all of a sudden you‘ve got a conscience and you are going to stop? And I’m supposed to believe you? You think I’m crazy, too, right?
The folly of fools is folly.And chaos reigns.
Or, you could listen to God’s still voice in your heart and stay away from this stuff or if you’ve played the fool, stop it NOW altogether and save yourself a ton of grief.
But that would mean you’d have to start filling our mind with wisdom instead of foolishness.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
What is your soul filled with?
For a scary view of how temptation works, take a look at this amazing animation. Temptation looks so inviting and in the end it sucks us in and consumes us.
I must have been in a crotchety mood. The idea of “fool” in Proverbs is someone who does their own thing regardless of God’s guidance to us. He blunders along thinking that whatever he thinks and feels is right and everyone else is wrong. He’s self-deluded and proud of it. My point in the previous blog is that it does you no good to have communication techniques if you don’t have any moral fiber. You can have all the communication finesse in the world, but if you are lying, it won’t matter much. I also, interestingly, found that the word “communication” doesn’t occur in the Bible in modern translations (it occurs 8 times in the KJV), but the concept is there aplenty, so I thought it might be instructive for us to look at this ancient wisdom on the topic.
We left off in the middle of chapter 14, so here goes:
Proverbs 14:8 “The folly of fools is deception.” Here’s a rule of thumb: If you find yourself hiding anything from your spouse, you are on dangerous ground. The only thing you should hide is anniversary presents. If you are hiding anything else (porn, your computer use, text messages to co-workers, emails from your “friend,” money spending, your use of time, your alcohol or drug use, what you are eating), you aren’t being forthright and are headed down a path that could hurt you AND your spouse. If you are out to deceive, the person you hurt the most is yourself. One of the major benefits of marriage is that we are all one decision, one step, one click away from destruction, from succumbing to temptation. The power of temptation is the secret. Talking about your weaknesses with your spouse will give you fortitude and resolve. Hiding them is like hooking up an amplifier and loudspeaker to them in your brain and they will get louder and louder and more persistent. Stop it with the lying already. It’s time to be forthright about your weaknesses and supportive of each other in whatever struggles (We all have them!) you have. Lying about them will only send the message to your spouse that you don’t want her to have anything to do with you, that you don’t need her and that you can’t be trusted. Then, lying creates a whole other set of problems.
Proverbs 14:9 “Fools mock at making amends for sin.” Being self-righteous is an obnoxious thing. If you are right, of course, you don’t ever have to apologize. Nor listen to anyone else’s opinion. You can sit and play with your navel all day because no one else will be necessary. No one is always right. How is it that you are always right? How’d that ever happen? Oh, your problems are everyone else’s fault? How lucky for you. Come on. Man up. No one can go through marriage without hurting his spouse. How is your spouse ever supposed to feel close to you if you never admit you are wrong? Do you know how obnoxious it is to be married to someone who is right all the time? And you say you are just stubborn? Stubborn? Like this is a good thing? You want that for a personal characteristic? How about repenting of it and scouring your life of it? Or these people that tell me they just don’t forgive people. That’s great. Hold grudges your whole life? Let every shortcoming that’s ever been done to you by everyone be in your face everyday and remind yourself how everyone has abused you and mistreated you and take offense at everything everyday and in everyway and while you are at it let everyone know how they’ve harmed your poor little feelings. Do this as a lifestyle and see how many friends you have. Spouses for that matter. If you never make up, if you never admit you are wrong, if you never forgive, if you never let anything go, won’t you be fun to talk to? People will be waiting in line…to leave.
Proverbs 14:16 “A fool is hot-headed and reckless.” Somewhere else the Bible says that our anger doesn’t fulfill the righteousness of God. And God told Cain that anger wanted to “have” Cain and that Cain needed to master anger. Cain didn’t master anger and became our first murderer, but the message is clear: You’ve got two choices: Master anger or let it master you. If it masters you, you will be a curse to yourself and your family. Woe to the family that has to endure the wrath of a fool. In still another place the Bible says to be angry and sin not. There’s a good and bad side of anger. The good side is, anger tells us there is something wrong. The bad side it tells us to get even. Woe to the couple where both partners are operating on THAT principal: You hurt me; I’ll hurt you. Then, of course, you will feel compelled to hurt me back, because you ain’t gonna take no crap, right? Note the tie-in above in our verse: A fool is BOTH hot-headed AND reckless. Anger leads you to say and do things that you wouldn’t do if you were calm and rationally thinking things through. These are things you can’t take back. You’ve already done them. Humpty-Dumpty has already fallen and no one can put him back together again. Anger tells you there are no consequences. Anger silences your conscience and replaces it with stupidity. As Frederick Buechner writes anger is a feast, but the feast you are eating is yourself.
Proverbs 14:17 “A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated.” The next verse after verse 16 in the previous paragraph, picks up this problem of anger and kicks it up a notch: Anger not only causes you to be reckless and do foolish things, it causes the people you do them to (Like your wife or husband or your kids, mostly, right? How is it you can shut off anger at work? What’s that about?) to hate you. Really. Hate? Isn’t that too strong a word? Well, look: Family interaction theory was supposed to have been articulated in the 1950’s (how you treat someone will affect how he treats you), but here we have Solomon saying 3000 years ago that anger comes across to the recipient as hate, so the recipient is going to hate in return. Did you know that? Your anger comes across as hate. It doesn’t cause your loved ones to get all cushy and warm in the cockles of their heart when they think of you, or that, yes, you are indeed right, and thank you very much for being so definitive in bringing this point across to me so forcefully, if, whenever you are ticked, you let your mouth and actions fly, because that’s just who you are. To be on the receiving end of your anger is no fun and you are planting seeds of animosity in your family members, so don’t be surprised when there’s a crop of animosity in return when you end up on the receiving end. Anger breeds animosity. Anger doesn’t bring comfort, understanding, mutual regard or caring or any positive trait that might actually help you and your family. The Bible says, “Blessed are the peacemakers” not “Blessed are those that articulately let everyone know in no uncertain terms that they are right and everyone else is stupid.” NO. You aren’t blessed if you let anger wrangle your soul like that and neither are your poor, unfortunate, loved ones. Hey, God gave you your loud voice to yell in case of an emergency. If you yell all the time your family will tune you out (and hate you, also) and when there is an emergency, they may very well not listen to you then, either, to their own destruction, and then you can get all self-righteous about that, too.
…To be continued…
Money, sex and communication.The big three.If, as a couple, you’ve got these 3 figured out, you’ve hit a home run and are well on your way to having a winning marriage.As a therapist, given my druthers, I’d rather start with communication, because if you can communicate, maybe you can talk about money and sex!
It’s not all about communication.You need honesty, too.And integrity.A little insight and wisdom wouldn’t hurt.You can have all the communication skill in the world, but if you are lying it doesn’t matter.You may be very articulate about your situation and how you think it should be addressed, but if you have the insights of a dodo bird it ain’t gonna have a good outcome.
I was curious to find that the word “communication” doesn’t even occur in the Bible. That’s right, folks. Nada on that. The Bible says, instead,
In all your getting, get wisdom.
So, to start with, if you’ve mucked up your life by the decisions you’ve made to date prior to coming in and seeing me, certain mechanisms are in place (called consequences) that will continue their march until Judgment Day.Sure, sure, sure, God will forgive you if you are so inclined to desire it and you can stop your stupidity and even learn from your bad mistakes, but the consequences continue their march to the end of your parade.
It’s a lot easier to communicate if you aren’t living a profligate life.If you are living a shameful existence, you will have to hide it and it takes a tremendous amount of energy to cover your tracks and to hide the evidence and any communication you are doing then will be disingenuous, no matter how nicey-nice you are about it.
A little study on the word “fool” in Proverbs will give us some examples.If you’ve been a fool how are you going to communicate?Ha.That’ll be interesting.Well, ah, what’s a fool?In biblical terms it’s a person who has a total disregard for everything that God has said and does whatever he wants whenever he wants.In short, it’s all about him.
Careful now.When you read these sayings, don’t say to yourself, oh, that’s my husband, or, my wife needs to do this.No.The Bible wasn’t written for your spouse.It was written for you.YOU need to take these things to heart.Here are a few comments on some of the verses on a “fool” in Proverbs around the subject of communication.
Proverbs 1:22 “Fools hate knowledge” so you can bet, if they are told they are doing something wrong or hurtful, they are going to be mad about it. In another place it says, if you rebuke a fool, he will hate you. Great. Try communicating with a person like that. Fun. Keep in mind the “knowledge” referred to in this proverb is NOT everyday cultural knowledge like how many times Lindsay Lohan’s been arrested. No, it’s the knowledge of what God has said and God demands. A fool could care less. A fool doesn’t even believe that God said anything. Or maybe that God isn’t even there. Or if He is He hasn’t conveyed anything. It’s all a myth or made up or a sign of weakness or _____ (fill in your blank). This is a convenient way to tell yourself you can do whatever you want. It won’t matter. God won’t see. He’s not even there. Won’t you be fun communicating with when you just make up your own rules? And any one that challenges your Ten Commandments (Thou shalt not disagree with me….ever.), will be fit for the fire. And you accuse God of being unfair? Who are you to talk?
Proverbs 1:32 “The complacency of fools will destroy them.” Bring up an issue and they are completely indifferent. If you do this, this is a surefire way to train your spouse to despise you. It will drive everyone around you to distraction. What’s worse? Being upset or not caring one wit? I’ll give you a hint: I can do therapy with someone who’s angry and hurt. I can’t do therapy with someone who’s indifferent. When you start saying to yourself “I just don’t care anymore,” watch out. You’ve entered the land where you will destroy your family at your own hand. Indifference is the ultimate insult. The consummate last nail in the coffin. The penultimate lie to yourself that your marriage’s demise is someone else’s fault. It’s terribly comforting. To you. Your family burns and disintegrates and you don’t even care. Wipe your mouth and say you’ve done nothing wrong. You can tell yourself whatever you want.
Proverbs 10:8 “A chattering fool comes to ruin”. Just ‘cuz a person talks a lot, it doesn’t mean that what he is saying is worth communicating. Sometimes communication is like a diamond. It’s precious because there is not much of it around. Too much communication, too many words, and you will make those around you weary. Sometimes the best communication is to just shut up! Timing is everything. Note that the chattering fool comes to ruin. If you talk all the time, you are hurting yourself. You can bet your loved ones will have tuned you out. Listening is hard work. Anyone can talk.
Proverbs 10: 10 “The mouth of a fool invites ruin.” Nice guy. He opens his mouth and problems result. He can communicate, all right. Drivel. Spewing out words of hurt and insult. Putdowns and sarcasm. Words that cut. Words that divide. Words that pour salt on wounds. Or no words at all when something appropriate needs to be said. Something appropriate isn’t said. No comfort. No warmth. No tenderness. Communicate disgust. Communicate disdain. Completely cut them off. This way they can go crazy and you can point the finger at them ‘cuz you didn’t do anything, right? Hurt your loved ones. Let them know how much they’ve hurt you. Hurt back. Hurt back. Hurt back. You don’t feel love anymore, anyway. Right? That’s what you told me. Let your family self-destruct while you look on saying and doing things that seal your fate. Blame everyone else. Invite ruin. Make your bed with it.
Proverbs 10:18 “Whoever spreads slander is a fool.” Pity the person who lives in a community where this is a pastime. People can be pretty cruel. Right there in your own family, even. What are you doing “communicating” all that negative gruel about your “loved ones”? Pity the person related to you. Spare me the “loved ones” moniker. You can pretty much tell about someone’s heart by the amount of glee they get putting others down away from their hearing. If you are so “concerned” you should probably sit down with them and have a little chat. If you are too chicken to do that, you’d best keep your mouth shut about others’ faults. If you want to evaluate someone’s faults, turn the finger inward and analyze yourself.
Proverbs 10:23 “A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct.” Which, of course, will put his family and his very life at risk. That’ll be fun to communicate about. And don’t think you are innocent of this. You sit there and watch evil every night on your television or in the movies and revel in it and then you wonder why your mind is swimming in negativity and you are so angry and hurt all the time. Everyone on TV is always licking their wounds, why shouldn’t you? You are like the company you keep. If that’s how you spend your time, you won’t have many meaningful things to talk about.
Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” Try being married to a fool. You can’t say anything to him without him being mad. He’s right all the time. Good for him; bad for you. Careful. What if you are the same way? What a party the two of you will have! Both of you will insist you are right! You are both great communicators, right? Communicate yourselves all the way to hell. I marvel at couples like this. If you didn’t want your wife or husband’s opinion in your life, why did you ever get married? Isn’t the idea of marriage is that you don’t know everything and you need your spouse’s insight in your life? Wake up, People! Fools don’t make very good spouses.
Proverbs 12:16 “Fools show their arrogance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” This is the theme of reality shows. Get quick tempered and quick tongued and arrogant people in a small space and watch them rip each other to shreds. Great. If you watch that crap, what does that say about you? Stop it, already. It’s hard enough being generous in your spirit without the temptation to let everything bug you. Quick-tempered people make their family members miserable. It’s time to develop a little fortitude here. Not everybody even CARES about your feelings. And now you are hurt about that? Chill already. You’ll waste your life being an awesome communicator about how everybody is out to get you. And you’ll be mad about it. And hurt. And, by golly, you are gonna get your point across and they better listen. But you don’t have to listen. That’s ‘cuz you are right all the time.
Proverbs 12:23 “The heart of a fool blurts out folly.” There are just certain things you shouldn’t talk about. Really. Absolutely. You shouldn’t communicate EVERYTHING. And if every poisonous thought finds expression in your life, pity those within earshot of your buckshot. You’ve got a filthy mind. Or a mad one. Or a negative one. Now let’s make everyone else’s life miserable, too, while you are at it. Spread it around. That’s it. Now count your friends at the end of the day.
Proverbs 13:19 “Fools detest turning from folly.” Blunder along in your foolishness. And if your wife or husband happens to point it out to you, the inconsistency of it all, the hurtfulness and damage it’s done, yell at him at what a control freak he is. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. She’s purposely trying to point out your faults, right? You can do what you want. You are a big girl. Mommy said so. This is just who you are. You ain’t gonna change. You LOVE your little idol. It makes you feel all cushy inside. Just dare someone to try some communication techniques on you!
Proverbs 13:20 “A companion of fools suffers harm.” Your spouse questions your friends. You question your spouse’s wisdom. He’s a control freak. She’s a bitch. Either way, you are right and can justify anything and blunder along at our own peril. But you don’t care, ‘cuz you are a party animal! You just want to have fun and SOCIALIZE. Big deal if your 4 year old cries himself to sleep ‘cuz daddy is never there to pray with him at bedtime. Who cares if your husband’s questioning your judgment or your faithfulness or your integrity? He’s just a fuddy-duddy anyway and never wants to have any fun. This is just you.
Proverbs 14:3 “A fool’s talk brings a rod to his back.” Careful what you say. Your words might come back to bite you in the butt. This is another one of those warnings not to say everything you think and feel because not everything you think and feel is worth thinking and feeling. Sometimes your feelings and thoughts are pretty mean and nasty and selfish and hurtful and revengeful and they need to be corralled and roped off and bundled up and shipped off. The tongue is a fire. Wisdom will keep the fire in the fireplace, where it belongs. Foolishness will spread the fire around and burn everyone else in the process. You can’t take your words back. Even if you say you didn’t mean them. Then why did you say them? Even if you were drunk and don’t remember. Maybe next time you shouldn’t get drunk? Or you were angry, right? You wouldn’t have said it, if you weren’t angry? You’ve got it worked out that you can say whatever comes to your mind when you are angry? What a deal for you!
And you only.
….to be continued…