SKEPTICS may ask, why don’t people follow the advice of numerous proverbs and maxims of forethought available for centuries? Instead, they conclude that these apply only after some rightful venture has gone “horribly wrong.” When, for instance, a person gambles and loses all they have, including their house, why didn’t they remember the old Scottish proverb, “willful waste leads to woeful want?” But didn’t the gambler know this well-worn saying from earlier years? However, it wouldn’t have done much good. So, are the maxims of morality useless because people disregard them? For Christians and Jews, the Book of Proverbs is a great example. Yet, what about other religions and philosophers?

For example, English essayist, drama and literary critic, painter, social commentator, and philosopher William Hazlitt (1778-1830) once wrote:

Let a man’s talents or virtues be what they may; we feel satisfaction in his company only as he is satisfied in himself. We cannot enjoy the good qualities of a friend if he seems to be none the better for them.” (#27)

This sounds very much like King Solomon’s advice to parents that after their children are dedicated to being a successful individual, let them choose the path they want to follow to accomplish it. (Proverbs 22:6).

But the advice of the Apostle Paul seems more relevant: “Welcome with open arms, fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with – even when it seems they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their history to deal with. Treat them with respect.” (Romans 14:1-2 – The Message)

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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