Message: I have been praying through so much lately as we have all watched social media go crazy with division. As the divide widens and people become more and more angry there is so much foolishness being spewed out. Like so many others, I find myself completely frustrated with the arguments I see every day. I originally expressed my heart and support toward a grieving community of friends, but beyond that I have limited my engagement to face-to face discussion with those that I have personal relationships with. I have challenged and I have been challenged and have found that as we seek God together and talk these things out we have become more unified than ever even if we don’t fully agree on everything. As for social media, I have mostly remained silent in all of the other noise. I see too many layers involved and I can’t get behind most of what is being argued. My prayer has consistently been that God would show me what HE wants me to see and he has not let me down! Each day as I read the word he shows me something else. Today as I read Proverbs 26, I didn’t want it to be the topic I would write about but as I read through it became evident that this was where God was talking to me. The theme in Proverbs is a compare and contrast between wisdom and foolishness. Verses 4 and 5 had always troubled me but today it clicked. “Don’t answer a fool according to his foolishness, or you’ll be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his foolishness or he’ll become wise in his own eyes” My response has always been ‘So wait! Do we answer him or not answer him?’ As I read through the footnotes of my bible I came across this: “A person should not answer a fool by resorting to foolish methods, Yet someone needs to expose his foolishness, even if he won’t listen.” This is where wisdom is so important and we have to be in prayer and in the word to handle this appropriately. I promise that everyone posting things on social media believe they are wise and everyone around them is duped! Many have even used scripture to prove their point and Proverbs has one for that too. Verse 7 says “a proverb in the mouth of a fool is like lame legs that hang limp.” If that is not plain enough it means they have legs but are unable to use them as intended. In other words, they don’t have a leg to stand on. This is likely where this expression came from and is not intended to be an insult to paralyzed people. Verse 9 says “a proverb in the mouth of a fool is like a stick with thorns brandished by the hand of a drunkard.” Let that one sink in. My point here is that we have to be SO careful when we believe we have the answers. What we should be sharing with others is our own personal growth journey as we ask God to show us what he wants us to see, and then encourage each other to do the same. We have to approach this with humility, patience and kindness. If our motives are to prove someone else wrong, we are not in a place of humility. We should be asking more questions than giving answers because there is so much to all of this that we don’t understand and have not experienced. We as Christians should be leading the way as we humbly seek God for answers and work this out through relationships. Put down the memes and challenge every thought by asking God to wash it with his word. This can only be done if we are actually reading his word and asking God to use it to change our hearts. Challenge the “fool” within our own thinking. Don’t look for scriptures to prove your point but put down pride and bring every thought and idea to God and ask him to reveal the truth or expose the lie in it. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” We often use this scripture as a defense against thoughts of fear and low self-esteem but it is critically important to apply this scripture as we sort through our own pride and challenge the thoughts and ideas we are holding onto. If there was ever something to put our faith in, this is it! Then, and only then are we equipped to expose foolishness. The thing about exposing a fool, is that we really don’t have to do much. Verse 11 tells us that the fool will not accept correction and will not advance in his learning. He will repeat his foolishness like a dog who returns to his vomit. Before pinning someone else in our minds as a fool, we have to expose the fool within ourselves. We have to ask ourselves how willing to learn am I? Have I challenged my own thinking and asked God to refine it? Am I arguing the same arguments with people and refusing to hear another idea because it opposes my own? This is my challenge to myself and to other believers. Be careful. Deception is dangerous and denial is REAL! We have to ask these questions from a place of humility and trust God to show us what we probably don’t want to see in ourselves. Our pride will want to keep it hidden but if we humble ourselves, God is so kind and compassionate when he reveals the truth. Church, if we want progress, this is how to get there. It begins with ourselves. We will not change the minds of anyone else until first allow God to change ours. This is an ongoing work in progress that never ends and as we continue to change we will influence and inspire others.