Whoever corrects a scoffer wins abuse; whoever rebukes the wicked gets hurt. A scoffer who is rebuked will only hate you; the wise, when rebuked, will love you. Give instruction to the wise, and they will become wiser still. – Proverbs 9:7-9a (NRSV)
Those who wonder whether God hath more truth and light yet to break forth out of God’s holy word, behold! It turns out the author of Proverbs must have been a Twitter user, and has some advice for you on how best to deal with your social media feed. It’s this: don’t interact with everyone. Draw near to some; draw away from others. You do not owe anyone your nearness, certainly not online.
You can tell the difference between the scoffers and the wise within moments of any social media interaction. You will not win the scoffers over, no matter how articulate or careful or well-informed you are. Their delight is not in learning, but in trying to make you look foolish for your earnestness. You’re going to spend a lot of energy trying to convince them, get all het up and burned out, and what good will that do?
Draw near to the wise ones instead, says Proverbs: the ones who have honest questions, who want to learn, who are curious, who can receive feedback—even receive rebuke, on occasion—graciously. Draw near to the wise and, of course, try to be the kind of wise one that others wish to draw near to as well.
You have a limited number of breaths, of words, of keystrokes left before you die. They are so, so precious. Don’t waste them on the scoffers.
Let me draw near to the wise, or God, and let me leave the scoffers in the dust. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.