Proverbs 26:4-5 “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”
Sometimes, determining what God wants us to do can be quite difficult. We can have opposing principles, which can be found in the pages of the Word, applied to the same situation. That is the case with the advice Solomon is providing here. On the one hand, it is folly to attempt to correct a foolish man. Since his thinking is irrational, it is impossible to rationalize with him. The conversation becomes nothing more than a vain argument. On the other hand, if he is not corrected, he will continue on the same path with no hope of escape. When faced with these encounters, we are forced to make a split second decision, seeking God’s best for the situation. Many times we walk away having a much longer conversation with ourselves than we did with the other person; talking out all the things we should have said. Allow me to give just a few tips.
First off, since we do not know what encounters await us around the corner, we must prepare in advance. We will be prepared by spending time with the Lord and walking in the Spirit. I cannot express strongly enough, how often my morning devotions have prepared me for the encounters I face throughout the day. I have almost come to expect, I will have a conversation where I am able to draw from my morning reading. I have found, daily Bible reading puts me one step ahead of the situations I will face. Prayer is also a critical factor in being ahead of the game. Taking time in the morning to devote myself, my day, and my time to the Lord, will get me in the right frame of mind to be available when ministry opportunities arise. When Paul addressed the Ephesians, he wrote of “being filled with the Spirit.” Morning prayer time is the place to make that happen. As we begin the day pouring out ourselves and our needs to the Lord, we find we are filled with His love, power and Spirit.
Finally, when Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus he said, “the wind blows where it wishes, we do not know where it comes from or where it goes. Such are they who are born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) Walking in the Spirit involves making myself available to the Lord and looking for His leading in my life. A chance encounter at the market, park, or school recital may, in fact, be a ministry opportunity. Often, taking the time to listen to someone and prayerfully considering how to answer, may provide the open door we need to see a person come to faith in Christ. Walking in the Spirit involves not being driven by emotion or circumstances, but being open to and looking for ways to be used by the Lord.