The lips of fools bring them strife,
and their mouths invite a beating.
What a funny proverb and so true! The fool will even be warned: “You’re asking for it. You’d better stop talking.” But he won’t stop. He must rant and rave; he keeps provoking, keeps sounding off until the listener either literally or figuratively gives him his beating.
Why does the fool invite punishment? Because he is caught up in himself. He has worked himself into a fit, and it feels good to vent. He loves the sound of his voice and cannot see the real effect his words are having. He likes hearing himself talk more than being heard. He does not consider how to communicate; he simply wants to make sound.
The exasperating part of it all is that he does not understand why he receives a violent reaction. He blames the listener for being impatient or mean or unjust or a fool. “All I did was ask a question.” “I was only trying to reason with him.” “I don’t know why he should get so upset.” He does not learn from the reactions of others, even when he develops a history of angering others. He blames bad luck with getting jobs that have difficult co-workers and bosses. His church is filled with problem people and leaders who don’t care. His wife thinks only of herself and his children are moody. He does not make the connection between their behavior and his foolish speech.
We will all at times speak foolishly. Let us at least learn from our mistakes and develop the ability to listen to others.
1 Thessalonians 4
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.[b] The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
Believers Who Have Died
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.