“As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1 NIV)
The dead attract flies who are drawn by the decay and odor and when I see flies swarming–over any dead thing–I smell the odor that accompanies death. When people choose to function without wisdom from above and have no honor–for themselves or others, the folly that is the end result–outweighs the good of those who operate with wisdom and honor.
We see demonstration of folly getting more attention that wisdom on a daily basis. One of the reasons most people there is more bad or evil in the world is because that is what is reported the most.
Racism seeps and creeps into minds of people who think that all people are like those who are reported caught in doing stupid or evil. People from all races of people–all ethnic backgrounds–do stupid, but that does not mean that all the people categorized as that particular race do stupid all the time.
Because all we hear or see in the news is negative–we soon develop negative attitudes about all sorts of things. Most of us no longer trust politicians because of a few doing stupid things while in office, but that doesn’t mean that all politicians are corrupt, dishonest, adulterers, or philanderers. Not all politicians are only interested in preserving the economic classicism that exists in this country, but the few that actually care about people are seldom discussed in the news.
Not all teachers are sexual predators, but because those who are have made the headlines on more than one occasion, some people think that teachers are the reason for all the ills of education.
Not all teenagers are foolish and depraved, but when we only see those who are–splashed across the television screen or posted on social media doing stupid, we tend to think that all teenagers act like those we see–shown in a negative light.
Not all preachers or priests or church leaders are morally bankrupt, but we wouldn’t know that if we base our opinions on what we see in the news.
Not all poor people commit crimes, live off welfare and are ignorant. There are a number of people who commit crimes who were not raised in poverty, and are highly educated, but those are not the ones who get the negative reports and we make assumptions about the poor that are not true of all poor.
I’m thankful that God has given me an observant heart and a desire to understand people and why they do things. I try not to draw conclusions about anyone without having sufficient information to do so. I’m not inclined to try to persuade others to share my opinions about people because others may have different experiences with the same people and have different outcomes. When we draw conclusions about people without understanding– and we don’t have to know everything about them–we are guilty of being presumptuous and foolish.
When people are going through difficult times and don’t acknowledge us, we cannot conclude that they have a problem with us. The reality is–the problem is usually with us because we expect people to act as we want them to act.
I’m guilty of expecting people in certain positions–especially positions of leadership–to act with integrity and honor. And when that doesn’t happen, I tend to not respect them in their positions because the position is being disrespected. A little folly–being self-absorbed, thinking the world should evolve around us–leads to others having a bad impression of the whole and those who actually function with integrity, are overlooked.
O Lord, help us to be more like You, more determined to understand and slower in drawing erroneous conclusions about people or situations in which we do not have sufficient information. Help us to not spread negative reports, but to do all we can to function with integrity and honor, seeking wisdom from You, at all times.