“Like a dog that returns to his vomit
is a fool who repeats his folly.” Proverbs 26:11
How stupid would it be to stick a ladle in the toilet and sample our own barf? “You know what? I’d like to barf that up again… let me put it back inside me.” There’s nothing enjoyable about throwing up. It stinks, it looks like massacred food, it’s full of bacteria and other poisons that your body clearly couldn’t handle, and the process to get it out is usually painful and humiliating. The only thing good about throwing up is it purges our bodies of sickness. Still, when I’m in a moment of sickness, I’m never thinking, “Oh, how splendid to watch my body empty itself of this virus!” I’m actually thinking, “I will never eat sausage McMuffins again. Or shrimp tacos. And I’m gonna wash my hands more. I’m never going near children, etc.” In other words, I’m thinking about how not to let this happen again.
Anyway, have you ever watched someone repeat the same foolish behaviors over and over again? It’s like, “You’re still doing that? Didn’t you already do that in the 90s?” They complain about it and say they’ll never do it again, but then they do it again. And again! Then you start wondering if they’re mental or have memory problems because no one can be that dumb. Because of Proverbs 26:11, I often think to myself, “There they go, taking the ladle to the toilet.” It really is that stupid for us to repeat our foolish mistakes. But why do we do it?
Part of the answer lies (according to me) in what the scripture isn’t saying.
(1) No One Is Force Feeding the Dog Its Vomit
Which means no one else is forcing us to repeat our same folly. “I wouldn’t have done it if so-and-so hadn’t blah blah…” If you’ve ever watched My 600 lb Life, you’ll see this excuse in action every 5 minutes. (I reference this show a lot, because I binge watched it during my last trimester with my daughter and I think I have PTSD). The doctor on the show will ask, “Why did you put on 5 million pounds last month?” and the morbidly obese person will say, “My girlfriend who is old enough to be my mother keeps bringing me sack after sack of cheeseburgers!” Someone in this situation would probably acknowledge that their situation is foolish or sinful (like a dog eating barf), but the only reason they’re sinning is because of someone else (me force feeding the dog with a spoon).
I think many of us are guilty of blaming others for our foolishness. Even Adam and Eve were pointing fingers. Would it be nice for the rest of the world not to give out cheeseburgers/alcohol/drugs/abusive boyfriends/psycho girlfriends/credit cards, etc? Yes, but that’s NEVER going to happen. So, I guess it’s time for you to hold yourself accountable for your folly.
Or you can just get you another ladle full of that hot barf. It’s looking chunky. You’ll definitely have to chew it.
(2) The Dog Is Not Snacking on Someone Else’s Barf
So, I’m over here puking and the dog wants in on the action (I could see a real life dog doing this, by the way). This is a case of, “I don’t even have a problem, they do.” I feel like snitches use this logic a lot. Anyway, here’s the most common, modern example of this I can think of: foolish choice in significant others. “All men are pigs” or “All women are crazy.” Because if all men are pigs, then the fact that I keep dating pigs means I am innocent when I saunter over to that trough of vomit the pig men are offering and have me a sip or two or ten because it’s the ONLY option. It’s not even MY barf!
You better not use your wooden ladle in this vomit. It’s heavy in stomach acids and will eat right through it.
I’m really stretching it with that last illustration. I think I just wanted to take pictures of a dog eating my barf. I’m probably why 1 Timothy 2:12 exists.
So, with those two points in mind, pride is what keeps many of us from repenting of our folly and is also what continually keeps us in a pattern of falling:
Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
Best case scenario, we swallow our pride (maybe that’s a bad choice of words) and admit we have sin in our lives–I’m specifically referring to the sin of folly mentioned in Proverbs 26:11. Although that’s a good first step, it isn’t enough (see Return of the Unclean Spirit). We need something to put in place of our foolishness. What’s the opposite of being foolish? The answer, I think, is to be wise. And how do I get wisdom… here’s a hint: GOD.
Flush the Toilet: Fear God, Gain Wisdom
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
I can hear it now, “Why should I fear God? That doesn’t seem like a loving God.” Read that last bit of the scripture again, the part starting with “fools.” Maybe you ought to just hear God out on this one. I’ll just say this as my quick reply: we ought to fear God because He’s GOD. “Oh, but I want a God that loves me and puts up with my crap.” That’s the last thing any of us needs. “But how come God would want me to suffer…” Just get off my website and go hang out on Reddit.
For those of you who have stuck around (this was supposed to be like 4 paragraphs long), here are some bits of wisdom from the book of Proverbs to whet your appetite:
For lazy fools:
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:10-11)
For fools who follow worthless pursuits (e.g. MLM schemes, get rich quick schemes, dumb business ideas–forgive me)
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. (Proverbs 12:11)
Wealth gained hastily will dwindle,
but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. (Proverbs 13:11)
When in doubt, go with God (don’t take advice from other fools):
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
For the foolish fellas who like crazy women and hate the heat:
It is better to live in a desert land
than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. (Proverbs 21:19)
For people who act like fools when they’re angry:
A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Proverbs 29:11)
I think that’s enough for now. Some of you might be weighted down too heavily with conviction or hating hard due to the correction. I have a great idea though: find a Bible and read Proverbs. Oh, and don’t forget to fear God.
Don’t be a fool,