READ: Proverbs 12-13
THINK: Under most conditions it's not appropriate to call anyone stupid. Some of us even disallow such labels to be used in our homes and conversations. And yet, the Bible unapologetically calls people stupid if they hate and resent correction. Proper discipline and constructive challenges are intended for our own good and can make us better people if we learn from these experiences. But those who reject appropriate correction and foolishly refuse to learn from others only bring trouble on themselves. The same is true of people who refuse to seek or accept good advice and those who stubbornly persist in doing things their own way all the time. At the root, these are issues of pride and rebellion, attitudes which God detests. And defying God is definitely stupid.
RESPOND: According to 12:1, who is stupid and why? How is love for discipline related to love for knowledge (12:1)? How can a good or bad marriage impact each spouse, and what should you look for in choosing a spouse? (See 12:4 note.) How should we treat our animals, and why? (See 12:10 note.) How can the way a person talks bring good or bad (12:14)? Why is it wise to seek and listen to advice (12:15)? Why is it foolish to be easily annoyed, and why is it wise to overlook insults (12:16)? In what ways can "reckless words pierce like a sword" (12:18)? How can wise words bring healing? According to 12:22, what does the Lord detest, and in whom does He delight? According to 12:25, what weighs people down, and what cheers them up? According to 12:26, what is a wise person cautious about, and why? What does it mean that "he who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin"? (See 13:3 note.) How and why does pride lead to quarrels? (See 13:10 note.) What does 13:20 indicate about how our relationships affect us, and what precautions should we exercise in this regard?
PRAY: Pray that God will help you receive correction and discipline with a good attitude and a teachable spirit. Ask God to help you avoid words and actions that could lead to arguments and disunity. Also pray for wisdom and discernment regarding your friendships and other relationships in your life.
ACT: If anyone insults or offends you, make a deliberate effort to respond with kind words and actions. Make any changes necessary to get out of destructive relationships and to spend more time with people of good character.
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