Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 22:10
"Drive out the scoffer and contention will go out, even strife and dishonor will cease."
This is a leadership lesson that must not be overlooked. You cannot build a team of people if you allow a scoffer to be one of them. They are a cancer to group dynamics and teams. Some people don't want to deal with this kind of person and so they put up with a level of hostility that keeps their company, their family, their church, and their organizations operating well below their peak.
Solomon is saying in the strongest terms that you must deal with this kind of person in a no-nonsense fashion.
This is the Hebrew word garas, which means to cast out, drive away/out, divorce, expel. Clearly Solomon is advising that a person not suffer this type of fool in their office, in their family, in themselves. This kind of person must be driven out for it is the essential ingredient to a whole host of problems that will follow. But if this person is removed, then what would follow never happens. It may happen to another person, but it will not happen to you and your loved ones.
It has an amazing amount of demonstrations in the Scripture: Adam and Eve, Cain, David was driven out by Saul, Pharaoh at the beginning of the Exodus drove the men out of his presence. Genesis 21:9 is the story of Sarah watching Hagar and her son mocking Isaac, and she then proceeds to drive the servant woman out for her mocking.
This is the Hebrew word lis, which means scorn, sarcasm, judgment, mock. Proverbs 24:9 says that the scoffer is hated by all men. The scoffer is filled with pride. He believes himself to be superior and able to find the flaws, the problems, and the difficulties in every situation. He points them out everywhere he goes. He honestly believes that as a critic he is helping. The problems are just so glaring that he cannot talk about them. Everybody, when they begin to learn a few things, goes through this phase where they think they know everything and are everyone’s and everything’s critic. Hopefully you do not internalize this and become the scoffer. Nobody likes this person. Realize that nobody wants someone pointing out their flaws, weaknesses, and mistakes. The people who have true friends are those who work hard to overlook the weaknesses, mistakes, and problems in others.
The scoffer is the person whose pride shows more than most. Because he believes that he is faster, smarter, quicker, stronger, and more aware, he points it out. So he automatically puts himself in the judgment position; the superior position. To take this tack is to sabotage your own life. No one likes the person who always thinks they know more than you and must point out everything that is wrong.
Let me add that the way that many marriages, companies, and organizations are destroyed is through sarcasm – the humorous way of putting someone down so that it doesn't seem so harsh. While witty interaction can be fun and entertaining, when it is about and within a real group of people, it destroys.
I have worked with countless marriages to try and make them work and become enjoyable. One of the first lessons that must be embraced is that sarcasm must stop. Stop picking at people through backhanded compliments. Stop trying to get laughs at your spouse’s expense. Be very plain vanilla and straight forward with your spouse about what they are doing right. Compliment them regularly and directly. It will begin to change your marriage. It will banish contention, strife, and dishonor.
Now look at all the things that stop growing when scoffing is not allowed: contention, strife, and dishonor.
This is really the same Hebrew word as scoffing. It is this time translated as contention. It makes sense if you banish the scoffer, then you banish the scoffing.
This is the Hebrew word madon, which means strife, contention. It comes from a root idea of judgment or judge. Again it has the idea of being proud and making disrespectful judgments about others and the anger, fights, and problems that come from this. A scoffer always makes statements about the problems and difficulties, and these always come across as pronouncements from someone who knows. It stirs up conflict and problems. When those types of statements are not made, then there is an ability to live together in harmony.
This is the Hebrew word qalown, which has been translated as abuse, contention, shame, and dishonor as here. The idea seems to be that the scoffer cannot carry on a normal interaction with others. It is always a competition as to who is better or having more authority or respect. The scoffer just must lower other people’s value through name-calling, slander, slights, looks, and the like. They cannot seem to do what God calls us to do in Philippians 2:1-10 and think of others as more important than ourselves.
Parents, bosses, pastors, employers must make a much stronger stand against putting other people down. When you hear this kind of interaction, stop them and let them know that this is not okay. You will not run down other people. You will not use a derogatory name for another person on the team. You will not slander another person when they are not present. If you have a problem with something that a person did, then go to the person. “Here I will help you.” “Let’s go right now.” The hyper-competitive scoffer cannot be happy for others promotion, blessings or good work. They need to help others see that they are better than that person. Solomon tells us to move that person on by not letting that kind of behavior happen. Either the behavior stops and the person who did it moves on, or the person moves on and the behavior goes with them.