S215P8 – Warnings against foolishness: lessons learned

Pro. 26:11-12

As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.  Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for him.

The law outlining the penalties for driving under the influence take into account the number of offenses by the offender.  At face value, this seems to make perfect sense.  The person who commits this offense over and over should have an increased penalty.  After all, one purpose of punishment is to deter bad behavior.  If we really think about it, it is quite telling that the law assumes some will commit the same offense repeatedly and not learn their lesson.  While the first violation might come with a license suspension, subsequent violations will lead to probation or incarceration.  The point is to get people to stop partaking in the dangerous activity that can lead to their death or the deaths of others, but some will continue to offend regardless of the consequences.

There are those who will engage in dangerous activities, and they will even harm themselves or others in the process, but they still return to those activities.  Suffering injury is not enough to deter them.  Risking the safety or lives of others is no deterrent.  The prospect of serious punishment does not phaze them.  We certainly would call someone like this a fool, but we take this risk spiritually more than we should.  When we return to our sin even though we understand its danger and how it offends our Father, we are being foolish.  We are simply rejecting the wisdom of the lesson we should be learning.  This repeated offense without learning our lesson is partly a result of ego.  Like the man wise in his own eyes, the repeat offender rejects good advice, wastes the lessons, and chooses his own way.

When our actions result in a negative consequence for us or for others, the hope is that we learn the lesson and choose better the next time.  Actually, we do not even need to learn from our own sin or mistakes.  We have a canon of scripture which sets the lessons out for us.  We can learn from the lives of others how best to live ours.  The question is whether we are teachable.  The wise man will learn the lessons of his own folly as well as those of others.  The fool will continue to sin ignoring the consequences which he knows will be ahead.  Father, give us a teachable spirit humble enough to confess that our way is not best and wise enough to truly learn the lessons You teach us.