The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.
Here are two rules of wisdom. First, foolish thoughts are sin in God’s sight. Men think their imaginations are their own, but they forget such thoughts are sin against God, Who sees them all. Second, the scorner, a person despising correction and teachers, is hated by good men, for he causes much strife, and removing him brings joy and peace (Pr 22:10).
How are these two clauses related? Wisdom is above a fool’s lazy stubbornness, so he has nothing of value to offer others (Pr 24:7). But a man that goes further and devises evil is a mischievous person, not just a fool (Pr 24:8). Thinking about folly and planning it are sin, but despising authority and instruction is worse, so scorners are hated by most men.
The Pharisees promoted hypocrisy by allowing evil thoughts, as long as the actual sin was avoided. Hating a person in your heart or lusting after another man’s wife was fine to them, if literal murder or adultery was avoided (Matt 5:21,27). But Jesus said unjustified anger or lusting after another woman was murder or adultery in His sight (Matt 5:22,28). He is the holy Lord God. Tremble before Him, even in the secret thoughts of your heart.
Foolishness is any conduct without regard for God or wisdom, which is sin (Pr 19:3; 22:15; Ps 14:1). Even foolish talking – filthy, frivolous, or jesting speech – is condemned, and God will judge the world for it (Eph 5:3-7). God hates folly. He knows a man’s heart is the source of his character and conduct, so He examines it (Matt 12:34-35; 15:18-20).
Sexual fantasies are common, but God condemns them. Sexual sins are folly (Gen 34:7; Deut 22:21; II Sam 13:12), and to imagine such folly is sin. Job said he would not think about a maid (Job 31:1), and Solomon warned not to lust after strange women even in your heart (Pr 6:25). God ponders man’s goings, including those involving sex (Pr 5:21).
Envy, hatred, and pride are also popular thoughts. Men, and women, love to despise others and exalt themselves in their hearts. In fact, most envy, hatred, and pride are limited to the heart (Jas 3:14-16). But the Lord God condemns these evil and foolish thoughts as devilish murder and rebellion. Purify your hearts, ye double minded (Jas 4:8).
A scorner is a pain and a problem. Their arrogant rejection of correction and instruction makes them impossible to teach (Pr 9:7-8). Their conceited resentment of teachers and reprovers makes peace impossible (Pr 22:10). They must be avoided or cast out. It is only natural and right for men to hate them, for they cause constant strife and trouble with any authority. They are worse than a fool, for they are conceited in their ignorance (Pr 26:12).
Reader, here are two matters of wisdom. First, keep your heart with all diligence, for sin begins with foolish thoughts (Pr 4:23; Jas 1:13-16). Search your heart and thoughts by prayer to reveal any evil there (Ps 139:23-24). Second, love instruction and reproof to avoid being a scorner. Humble yourself before the great God, His word, and His teachers.
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