Our world has a certain moral symmetry to it. When a timely word is spoken that says all and only what others need to hear, a friendly smile is returned that lifts the human spirit, or a warm embrace is offered to a lonely soul, the art of living is on display when what is appropriate for the moment is extended to others. If this moral symmetry is turned inside out or upside down by the antics of a fool, then our moral faculties cry out in rebellion. So goes Prov 26:1-12.

Just as a fool ignites our moral sensitivities, so too does a sluggard. They cry “Wolf!” (or “Lion!” as it were) when there is no danger (v 13), do the same things over and over again expecting different results (v 14), fail to meet their basic needs when they are perfectly capable of doing so (v 15), and are hardly teachable or able to learn from their folly (v 16). The sluggard must be redeemed from their self-induced demise.

Choose your battles carefully lest they devour you (Prov 26:17).

Simply because joking may be funny does not make it kind (Prov 26:18-19). Careful what you find entertaining.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
(Eph 4:29)

Along with the right to remain silent comes the responsibility (Prov 26:20-23).

While its commonly a good practice to believe what others say, words must be carefully weighed (Prov 26:24-28).

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