25Stupid fools learn good sense
by seeing others punished;
a sensible person learns
by being corrected.
rob their father
and chase their mother away.
27If you stop learning,
you will forget
what you already know.
28A lying witness makes fun
of the court system,
and criminals think crime
is really delicious.
29A stupid fool should expect
to be punished.
Have you ever heard the expression ”God has given us two ears and one mouth”? The message is clear: we have a tendency to not listen well, or perhaps in the right way. In fact, today’s reading invites us to realize that it’s a sign of intelligence if we accept other people’s comments, and if we’re willing to be taught.
Perhaps we can’t be blamed for the fact that there are some things we don’t know, that we’re ignorant in some ways, that we lack experience or wisdom. The ignorant can learn. The child can learn. The intelligent person can learn.
The issue is one of being willing to listen and to accept teaching. It’s a matter of an attitude of the heart, a disposition to recognize one’s limits and be willing to profit from receiving what other people can impart to us. There’s a source of wealth and wisdom.
Mockers, liars (who mock the law), false witnesses (who mock the truth), and evil people (who mock the well-being of others) unfortunately risk not going anywhere far. The rough method: blows, tragic experiences and punishments don’t work. The gentle method: words, teaching and exhortation don’t seem to produce fruit any more. It’s up to the heart to accept teaching and criticism.
Let’s make sure we have two ears well open and let’s make sure we don’t let the voice of mockers influence us to behave like they do.
Lord, there are still so many things for me to learn. I want to keep my ears and above all my heart open to teaching. Teach me your ways and protect me. Keep me from mockers. Make me quick to respond to your voice. Help me grow in intelligence. Amen.