We examined two reasons why people fail to heed the counsel of wisdom. Some stubbornly resist wisdom because they are strong-willed and refuse to surrender. Others simply fail to hear wise counsel due to insensitivity. Today, we encounter two additional factors.
“You neglect all my counsel” Proverb 1:25
We ignore God’s counsel from making any difference in our thoughts, words, or actions. In a way an individual says, in effect, ‘I really could not care less!’ Believe it or not, an underdeveloped sense of one’s own worth can prompt this kind of response. The reason people fail to accomplish tasks that will benefit them is because of self-loathing. Solomon noted this in three thousand years ago:
“He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof
Will dwell among the wise.
He who neglects discipline despises himself,
But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.” Proverb 15:31-32
Indifference can also suggest hostility toward God. Like children who fold their arms and intentionally refuse to follow their parents’ instructions, we fail to respond to God’s counsel. God, however, doesn’t suffer the consequences of our indifference. Tragically, we do.
“And [you] did not want my reproof.” Proverb 1:25
The original word translated did not want means “to be unwilling, unyielding, non-consenting.” the image is of one who fights off reproof the way one dodges responsibility when confronted with wrongdoing. The defensive person typically employs one of three strategies:
- Denial: the outright refusal to accept the truth of a situation, especially one’s personal guilt.
- Minimization: refusing to see the full significance of an issue or dismissing it as irrelevant.
- Shifting blame: assigning responsibility to another or justifying one’s actions as a reasonable response to the wrong doing of another.
The fool habitually engages in these strategies to avoid pain and suffering, presumable for the sake of self-preservation. Solomon, however, called this a form of self-loathing (despises himself). Those are powerful words of a wise man who had seen the lives of many foolish people come to an early, avoidable end because they refused to heed the warnings of the wise.
Merciful God, I have failed to yield on many occasions because of my indifference and arrogance. But with Your mercy You have carried me through my trials. Thank you God for showing mercy on me.