3Stones and sand are heavy,
but trouble caused by a fool
is a much heavier load.
4An angry person is dangerous,
but a jealous person
is even worse.
While many proverbs give instruction about what kind of person you should be, this passage has more of a focus on the kind of person you should avoid. It seems like easy enough advice to follow, and has convincing incentives too. Why would you carry an incredibly heavy and exhausting load if you didn’t have to, or willingly put yourself into a dangerous situation? Yet, we all know that in the real world, it may not always be this black and white. And this is where these proverbs get interesting.
You see, if you aren’t paying attention to your environment or the people you’ve invited into it, it can be quite easy to surround yourself with fools or jealous people. Or, perhaps you’re someone who is aware of your environment, but feels unable to control it. There’s another category you may fall into as well, which is the type of person who feels they should be hanging out with the people others try to avoid, because weren’t those the people Jesus hung out with when he was on earth?
I think what this proverb is getting at, if you read between the lines a bit, is this: know who YOU are and what kind of a person you want to be, and surround yourself with people who will help you be that person. And more importantly: know who God is and who you are in him. When you have planted your identity firmly in God and are in relationship and conversation with him on a daily basis, you’ll know when you’re hanging out with fools and jealous people, and you’ll know when to remove yourself from what could be a very damaging situation.
Everlasting Father, you are the Good Shepherd who loves and cares for every one of his sheep. Thank you for giving me an identity in you. Please watch over my friendships and guide me towards the people who need you most. In Jesus’ loving name I pray, Amen.