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Proverbs for Young Pilgrims: The Man of Understanding

“It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.” Proverbs 10:23

Each of us is well acquainted with the mischievous type character. He is the one who does the naughty little things. He is always in minor trouble nothing really serious. Wherever he is, crazy little events just seem to happen. Following in his wake, we find a certain incorrect conduct. Shall we say he is a misfit?

He is in constant need of scolding. Not requiring severe discipline, he is always amazed by the perpetual admonitions directed toward him. He always wonders and sometimes even expresses, “Why does this always happen to me?” Again, you will hear him ask one in authority, “Why do you always pick on me?”

You know the type. He is the child whose mother has told him that he may play outside “but”, she pleads, “try not to get too dirty” He promptly makes a mud puddle with the garden hose. “After all”, he reasons, “the water coming from the hose is not dirty.”

He is the youth who is continually teasing his siblings. Nothing serious, only mild mocking, perhaps. To “get under their skin” is his goal.

This mischievousness becomes as a sport to the youngster. He seems to enjoy causing minor disruption.  This mischief is fun and games! Many times there is laughter and glee attributed to him on account of his clever tricks or witty sayings. But because he is yet an amateur at this game, he will “carry it too far” and need a word of admonishment.

Although he is yet a novice, he is encouraged to expand his repertoire of comical tricks by the “positive” attention he receives from his peers. The development of his skills is hindered only slightly by the mild rebuke he receives from a person who may have authority over him. He soon achieves a sure method of development in his trade. As his mischief becomes more refined, he receives more attention of laughter and less of exhortation, he “doesn’t get caught. ”

As he becomes more proficient in his mischief, his spiritual sensitivity declines and notice what happens. His mischief becomes more a matter of word than deed. Foolish jesting, crazy remarks, passing of rumors all become part of his repertoire.

Experience polishes the skill. The silly remarks which once reflected upon him, drawing laughter directed toward him, have now become witty commentaries of other people, reflecting upon them and sending peels of laughter toward them. Stupid little events which he was once involved in, which drew attention toward himself, are now become clever observations of another’s circumstances in life. (Need we add that these observations are derogatory?) While he was once the recipient of scolding and admonitions, he now coins sly comments which belittle others.

When yet a novice, most of his mischievousness hurt only himself! The laughter he drew was directed toward him. He received the scolding and admonitions.

But his mischief has become more advanced. No longer does he injure himself, but his mischief is performed at another’s expense. Several people have gathered to hear his witty commentaries, clever observations, and sly comments, all of which are directed toward other people. And these same several people help him hurt others when they join in the laughter and gaiety. Their light-heartedness makes them partakers in his mischief.

Fools!

Fools, for this is their sport. Fools, for this is the entertainment they seek. Fools, for they participate in this amusing performance.

We do not participate in this type of thing though, do we?

Consider the individual who receives this callous abuse. The ridicule has been merciless. He has been robbed of his integrity, his reputation has been slandered, and now totally embarrassed by all this unjust treatment he feels that he has suffered at the hand of fellow Christians.

“The man of understanding hath wisdom.”

Yes, the man of understanding is filled with compassion for the individual who receives such callous abuse. He recognizes the ridicule and mockery for what it is . . sin against the brother. For how ought we to behave ourselves one toward another? The Law of God requires Love!

The Apostle Paul wrote concerning Love: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind’ seeketh not her own . . . thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity.” I Cor. 13:4-7.

The entertainment of the above mentioned mischief is gone. No longer do we hear the mockery, the laughter, the ridicule, the gaiety, the slander, the light-heartedness.

Stopped !

All is quiet!

Silence!

“Why don’t you grow up?” This is the quick, sharp rebuke from the man of understanding.

Yes, Young Pilgrim, the man of understanding. . . . “but when I became a man I put away childish things. ” (1 Cor. 13:11)

Considerate, merciful, kind, compassionate man he is. Understanding the hurt of the brother and having wisdom to both know and apply the Law of God.

As we walk the path of life, Young Pilgrim, may we also “put away childish things,” and grow up to be men of understanding, having wisdom.