Stubborn Fool

I’ve been guilty of it. At times I really did deserve the title of Stubborn Fool, however I’m here to testify that we do not have to wear that label forever.

On this edition of “Becoming Today” we’ll look at learning how to overcome and release past patterns…. or perhaps some that are continuing to linger.

I really do want to thank each and everyone of you for joining us here. Whether you have been following this series for the past nearly four weeks or if you have just found us. 

We are involved in a 31-day study of wisdom as taught in the Book of Proverbs. If you’d like to know more about The Passion Translation and why we are using it for this undertaking, you can find a recap near the end of today’s conversation.

We are continuing forward as we have now arrived at day 29 ,heading into the final days of our extended odyssey; our  search and rescue mission for wisdom. 

Understanding that enlightenment is within our reach we shall seek and find the knowledge and inspiration necessary to uplift, support and enhance our collective journeys as well as our own personal paths. 

Yesterday our discussion was called, “Love or Paranoia? You Decide…”.

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Confession is good for the soul however avoiding the idea is not. Afterall we can not hide anything from God. So what kind of relationship do you have with the Creator? Is it one of love? Or paranoia? You get to make the decision, it’s up to you to choose wisely?

As I suggested in yesterday’s headline you have a decision to make. A meaningful one. I’m not just trying to add to the estimated 235,000 decisions researchers claim the average person makes everyday.

This choice involves the direction of your life. 

As we discussed, there are those who are at peace and those who live in fear, doubt, anxiety and paranoia. I’m hoping most of you- if not all of you, are desirous of the first choice. 

God wants each of us to have a direct meaningful relationship with Him. The basis for any relationship must be truthfulness. If we are not honest with one another, then any connection perceived is not real. It’s just an illusion that can shatter at any moment when reality sets in.

This is especially true in our relationship with the Lord. For we cannot hide anything from Him, yet many try to do just that. Try I said, you can not succeed, you’re only lying to yourself if you believe otherwise.tuante or challenging circumstances. 

As we read in verse 13, “If you cover up your sin you’ll never do well. But if you confess your sins and forsake them, you will be kissed by mercy.” The choice is up to you. 

You can also read in the Book of James Chapter five verse 16, we are instructed not to conceal our sins and doing so can quite literally make us sick. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed….”. 

The line then continues that when we accept our responsibilities and make the choice to live a right and proper life that we will see, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”.

Next we’ll press ahead to Proverbs 29.

Today’s reading is divided into two sections, both of which I readily admit I’ve been guilty of sometimes simultaneously at various points in my life. However I can tell you from first hand experience these mistakes and poor attitudes can be overcome, and also we’ll see that the two are not mutually exclusive. We’ll delve into those thoughts in a moment, but let’s read together as this chapter opens with the heading:

Don’t Be Stubborn

Stubborn people who repeatedly refuse to accept correction

    will suddenly be broken and never recover.

Everyone rejoices when the lovers of God flourish,

    but the people groan when the wicked rise to power.

When you love wisdom, your father is overjoyed.

    But when you associate with prostitutes,

    you waste your wealth in exchange for disgrace.[a]

A godly leader who values justice

    is a great strength and example to the people.

    But the one who sells his influence for money

    tears down what is right.[b]

Flattery can often be used as a trap to hide ulterior motives

    and take advantage of you.

The wicked always have a trap laid for others,

    but the lovers of God escape as they sing and shout

    in joyous triumph!

God’s righteous people will pour themselves out for the poor,[c]

    but the ungodly make no attempt to understand or help the needy.

Now the second section is titled, 

You Can’t Argue with a Fool

Arrogant cynics love to pick fights,

    but the humble and wise love to pursue peace.

There’s no use arguing with a fool,[d]

    for his ranting and raving prevent you from making a case

    and settling the argument in a calm way.

10 

Violent men hate those with integrity,

    but the lovers of God esteem those who are holy.[e]

11 

You can recognize fools by the way

    they give full vent to their rage

    and let their words fly!

    But the wise bite their tongues and hold back all they could say.

12 

When leaders listen to false accusations,

    their associates become scoundrels.

13 

Poor people and their oppressors

    have only one thing in common—

    God made them both.[f]

14 

The best insurance for a leader’s longevity

    is to demonstrate justice for the poor.

15 

Experiencing many corrections and rebukes will make you wise.

    But if left to your own ways, you’ll bring disgrace to your parents.[g]

16 

When the wicked are in power, lawlessness abounds.

    But the patient lovers of God will one day watch in triumph

    as their stronghold topples!

17 

Correct your child and one day you’ll find he has changed

    and will bring you great delight.

18 

When there is no clear prophetic vision,[h]

    people quickly wander astray.[i]

    But when you follow the revelation of the Word,

    heaven’s bliss fills your soul.

19 

A stubborn servant can’t be corrected by words alone.

    For even if he understands, he pays no attention to you.

20 

There’s only one kind of person who is worse than a fool:

    the impetuous one who speaks without thinking first.

21 

If you pamper your servants,

    don’t be surprised when they expect to be treated as sons.[j]

22 

The source of strife is found in an angry heart,

    for sin surrounds the life of a furious man.[k]

23 

Lift yourself up with pride and you will soon be brought low,[l]

    but a meek and humble spirit will add to your honor.

24 

You are your own worst enemy when you partner with a thief,

    for a curse of guilt will come upon you

    when you fail to report a crime.[m]

25 

Fear and intimidation is a trap that holds you back.

    But when you place your confidence in the Lord,

    you will be seated in the high place.

26 

Everyone curries favor with leaders.

    But God is the judge, and justice comes from him.

27 

The wicked hate those who live a godly life,

    but the righteous hate injustice wherever it’s found.

Take a moment to reflect and then we’ll continue our conversation about some of these wise insights and suggestions.

This chapter had some pretty intense subheadings to it. “Don’t Be Stubborn” and “ You Can’t Argue with a Fool”.

As I alluded to, these are both labels I have worn in my life. Stubborn, foolish and even argumentative not only with others- and sometimes in general, but also with myself!

So in sharing my life lessons today, I can add testimony to the wisdom shared in these passages.

The opening verse is right; to a point. I’ll contest the last few words, but realize that involves each individual taking personal responsibility for change, growth and “Becoming”.

Let’s re-read the passage, “Stubborn people who repeatedly refuse to accept correction will suddenly be broken and never recover”.

I was an extremely stubborn person. For decades I tried to rationalize it’s just who I was and tried to justify my poor behavior by claiming life turned me that way. It did not. I allowed it to occur and grab hold of me, preventing me from seeing and accepting the truth.

I was the aforementioned stubborn person through and through. I repeatedly refused to accept the correction, gentle and otherwise. I was unrepentant, felt I was entitled to my obstinate nature, and could not be told otherwise.

Until I learned the toll it was taking on both my physical and emotional health. I was learning a lesson, that stubbornness often attracts other bad behaviors.

Stubbornness and pride not only often walk hand in hand, they can , as they did in my case, become quite intermingled and spawn, a third even more powerful negative mental reaction, that for now I’ll just call their “love-child”.

Though as I’ll share in a bit, this offspring has nothing to do with either love or being childlike. 

Anyway back to verse one, while I certainly learned the hard way that refusing to release or even consider examining the issues behind my pigheadedness did indeed make me broken. However once I came to understand I had to change I did indeed recover. Now sticking your head in the sand or trying to ignore the signs, as I was guilty of, did delay my overcoming, but once I did seek that glimmer of light illuminating a different path forward, I ran to it, and am so thankful I did. 

If you’re like I was then, I want to reassure you that stubborn and even prideful are not labels we have to wear for life. 

The next two passages we’ll examine also rang true for me in many ways. 

Verse eight begins, “Arrogant cynics love to pick fights, but…” But we’ll pause here for a moment,  

I was an arrogant cynic. An extremely unrepentant one. 

First I was arrogant, wrapped up in my pridefulness, fueled by my stubbornness, and going through life with a chip on my shoulder. I had allowed the weight of the world on my shoulders and felt I had a whole lot to prove and lived with  the false belief that I “had to show them”.

“Them” were all the people who told me I was worthless, would never amount to anything and someone who comes from “here” can’t do that. They were wrong. On all counts. I did show them, however I had to then dela with the consequences of the motivations I chose in order to do so. It would take me several decades to come to the understanding of the remainder of this verse, quote, “ the humble and wise love to pursue peace”.

That’s why I knew the next line was also so true. “There’s no use arguing with a fool, for his ranting and raving prevent you from making a case and settling the argument in a calm way”.

 My stubborn pride even led some close to me to declare to me that sometimes, “you are so right, you’re wrong”. 

The big lesson for me was in learning how not to let the love child run my life. Yest stubbornness and pride got together and had given birth to a big baby that I chose to adopt. Her name was ANGER

Verse 22 notes, “The source of strife is found in an angry heart, for sin surrounds the life of a furious man”.

Amen. That is oh so true. 

It took time and quite a bit of “Becoming” for me to let go of anger. Still to this day I have to consciously work to enforce the boundaries between me and this negative emotion.

I have to remind myself, I am human. I have faults. I will and do make mistakes and that’s all okay. That’s when I need to practice positive self-talk the most. Because if I don’t I get mad.

I mean really mad. Anger is something I am continually working on releasing. 

By that I no longer mean suppressing it until the anger exceeds mad and becomes pent up frustration which festers into explosive rage. I’ve been there, done that, have the scars to prove it and do not intend to go back there. 

Psychotherapists will tell you anger acts as an emotional alarm for our brains. Any sense of an overwhelming negative feeling like disappointment, fear, guilt, shame or rejection can be a trigger for anger.

While for some anger can be an early warning sign that they’re feeling something that they don’t want to be feeling, for me it has seemingly always proven to be destructive.

It can and has negatively impacted my physical health and mental well-being. While we have been taught to keep it all inside. Hat is not a lasting answer. Sure there are times we need to temper our temper and not escalate situations, especially ones where an outburst can put us in a place of physical danger, but instead we need to embrace it.

Much like our shadow sides, anger exists. We need to acknowledge it, and rather than just try to dismiss it, accept the responsibility for releasing it, overcoming it and returning ourselves to a state of “Becoming”.

If you find yourself struggling with anger, here’s a link to an earlier post in which I shared some tips I learned along the way for overcoming it.

Sharing wisdom along our common journey is certainly fitting with opening ourselves to enlightenment and growth. 

Truth, understanding, enlightenment and wisdom are all very “Becoming” traits. They empower us to grow and learn to be who we truly were intended to be. Which in turn enables us to continue moving on, with our momentum fully powered forward and upward.

I hope you have enjoyed the first three weeks, yes 29 days already of this odyssey. Plus in the final two days, there is still much more to come.

As always I encourage you to actively participate. Please post your comments, questions, suggestions or concerns below. This is a safe space to share and there are protections in place to keep spammers out. I will respond to all who choose to participate. 

If you do not feel comfortable sharing below, remember you can always reach out privately through the easy to use form on our Contact page.

I pray each and every one of you enjoys a safe and blessed day. Then join us tomorrow as we continue our proverbial search here along this shared  journey we call “Becoming Today”. 

For those that have been here for a while I hope some of the repetitive nature of these posts is not too distracting. Not only are some of these points to remind us of our focus this month, it is also designed to also be welcoming.

We never know when a fellow traveler may walk along with us, or need to take a diversion. 

This is especially true since I have no idea what algorithm directed you, what search method may have pointed in our direction or how many of you find us on any given day. Therefore it’s necessary to recap some of the outline for our combined purposes. 

I appreciate your patience and understanding, so I’ll now mention we’ve come to that point in this conversation and if you’ve already heard this, then you can skip the next few paragraphs and pick up with the next image.

Now for those of you listening to the podcast I know that makes no sense, since you can’t hear any of the beautiful graphics we create each day, so you’ll just have to listen along; again… (insert audible giggle here) understanding that I’m laughing with you not at you.

As I am apt to do, even if you have studied Proverbs before, our undertaking may be a bit different, as we’ll be adding some passion to it. 

I am being called to focus this teaching around the The Passion Translation® book of Isaiah and New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Songs translated from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts.

Done so by  Dr. Brian Simmons who believes the”message of God’s story is timeless; the Word of God doesn’t change. But the methods by which that story is communicated should be timely; the vessels that steward God’s Word can and should change. 

Thank you again for joining us on this edition of “Becoming Today”.

Also I’ll remind you that the footnotes referred to above are available here and include underlined study links:

Footnotes

a. 29:3 See Luke 15:11–24.

b. 29:4 See 1 Tim. 6:10.

c. 29:7 The Hebrew text implies standing up for the legal rights of the poor.

d. 29:9 The Hebrew implies an argument in a court of law.

e. 29:10 As translated from the Septuagint.

f. 29:13 A figure of speech in Hebrew that can literally be translated “God gave them both the gift of eyesight.” The Septuagint is “The contracts between lenders and debtors are observed by the Lord.”

g. 29:15 As translated from the Septuagint. The Hebrew is “your mother.”

h. 29:18 The Hebrew word used here can refer to a “vision of the night,” “dream,” “oracle,” or “revelation.” The Septuagint reads “where there is no prophetic seer [or interpreter].”29:18 Or “let loose,” “strip,” or “made themselves naked.” The Septuagint reads “the people become lawless.”

i. 29:21 Or “If you pamper your servant when he is young, he’ll become a weakling in the end.” The Septuagint reads “If you live in luxury as a child, you’ll become a domestic [servant] and at last will be grieved with yourself.” The Aramaic states, “You’ll be uprooted in the end.”

j. 29:22 The Hebrew word translated as “a furious man” can also mean “lord of fury” or “Baal of wrath.”

k. 29:23 Or “to depression.”

l. 29:24 Or “when under oath to testify but you do not talk.”

The Passion Translation®. 

Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2020 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc

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