Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 9:12
"If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you alone will bear it"
This verse deals with the underlying reasons why a person is trying to be wise or foolish. Some choose these pathways as ways for fame and fortune. This verse brings a number of behaviors into focus.
Some people try and act wisely to impress others. The wisdom they speak and do is not really theirs; it is a means to a goal. This approach will not work. Wisdom is not a tool to be used by the fool to accomplish selfish means. Embrace wisdom completely – not just as a technique for handling life but as a way of life.
Some believe that they owe it to the world to discover new levels of wisdom because they are so smart and intelligent. No, you are wise for yourself. There will be many times when you are called upon to be wise and no one will ever know what you did. Only God and you will know. It is those encounters that will determine whether you are truly wise and will reap the rewards of wisdom.
Some try and be wise for others, while they are not themselves wise. This charade will always come crashing down. Children, employees, and citizens will eventually see the hypocrisy and reject your phony wisdom.
In the same way, some people try and use aspects of foolishness in order to further their life. In this case Solomon speaks of scoffing.
Some people become critical of everything and everyone, believing that people want to know when they are wrong and everything that isn't right. Often very observant people are tempted in this way.
Some try and develop a whole life out of being critical or cynical. They become critics of everything – negative commentators on others. With very few exceptions this is a lonely, difficult, scorned, and hated road. Unfortunately, because of television, this superior critical position has been elevated and rewarded and so many fall victim to its temptation.
Some believe that it is funny to be critical. They cannot pass up a joke that points out the failings of another. They cannot overlook a comeback line that puts people down. They seem to believe that there is a laugh track playing, and they will be rewarded for how savagely they criticize the people closest to them. It is extremely tempting to put people down – especially parents, siblings, co-workers – and point out their faults and foibles, but there is a price to pay for this guilty pleasure.
Embrace wisdom because you want to live a great life. Embrace wisdom realizing that there will be many things you will do, sacrifices that you make, things you discover that others will never know about except God and He will reward you for your life of wisdom. You will bask in the glow of many wonderful relationships. These people will not care about nor want to hear about the sacrifices that you have had to make to help bring about these relationships. They will just want to enjoy the relationship and so will you. Your wisdom is to produce something – great relationships – not fame or fortune or prestige or power. It is true that a wise person many times gains these perks, but it is not why one pursues wisdom.
If God brings to your mind this verse – if you are wise, you are wise for yourself… – it often is to help you realize that you need to do something that is hidden and to keep on the pathway of wisdom.
If God brings the other side of this verse to your mind – if you scoff, you alone will bear it – it will often be to keep quiet about the critical comment that you are about to make; it will destroy or damage a relationship.