Proverbs 18:2, “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”
Have you ever been in a disagreement with someone and heard them say, “I don’t care what you think, I know I’m right” or, “I don’t need to listen to what you’re saying because I already know you’re wrong?” If you have, then you have met a fool who finds no pleasure in understanding. Foolish people (those lacking God’s wisdom) act without understanding and only want to give their own opinions.
A wise person does exactly the opposite. The wise humbly listen and learn from others because they love to gain new wisdom. A wise person once said, “I already know what I know, but I don’t know what you know.”
The most successful people in the world know how to gain understanding from those with wisdom. Opinions, on the other hand, are like armpits, everyone has them and most of the time they stink!
Jesus encountered people with their own opinions all the time, especially those from the Jewish leaders. They had their own opinions about God, judgment and they loved to put their man-made traditions above the law of God. In their pride they found no pleasure in listening and learning from Jesus to understand the truth about God’s kingdom. They took no delight in understanding the truth, but only in airing their own opinions. And because they had no delight in learning from Jesus they remained ignorant and in their sins (John 8:43).
Once a successful businessman was sitting at a table with fellow workers at an award ceremony. The other businessmen did all the talking and never really tried to understand what the other person knew or did. However, when the award ceremony started the one remaining silent was the only one to receive awards for their achievement. After receiving their rewards, they sat back down and the others asked, “Why haven’t you been sharing your ideas with us?” The person humbly replied, “No one asked me.”
God wants us to be humble and willing to learn new things in life. Those who are proud and act like “know-it-alls” are really acting like fools. Stop yourself from airing opinions when you are in the presence of those with wisdom. And when you have wisdom be patient to only share it when people have an open mind to receive it. Otherwise, Jesus said you’ll be casting your pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6).
- Make a decision to be a life-long learner.
- Next time you’re in a conversation ask yourself, “Am I hearing what the other person is saying?”
- If a person you’re talking to isn’t willing to listen to you but only wants to air their own opinions, let them know you need to move on because your time is valuable.