The Man in the Mirror

Jeff Munroe

READ : Proverbs 10

A wise child makes a glad father, and a foolish child is a mother’s grief. (v. 1)

The style of Proverbs changes beginning with chapter 10. We are introduced to a series of pithy couplets, each complete in itself. These adages—or maxims—are often what we think of when we imagine a proverb. The Hebrew word for proverb can also be translated “parable,” which is fitting since the Greek roots of parable (para + bolo) mean “to throw alongside of.” Chapters 10-22 of Proverbs continually throw one example alongside of another.

Often these proverbs contrast the behavior of the wise and the foolish. It is tempting as we read this to separate the world into these two kinds of people and thank God we’re not fools. Honest introspection tells us this isn’t true. There is really only one kind of person—people like us, who are both wise and foolish. The British theologian N.T. Wright says, “The line between good and evil runs right down the middle of me.”

When I was a kid, I’d watched enough cowboy movies to think the world was made up of good guys and bad guys. As I grew older I came to realize the world is made up of just—“guys.” Becoming wise requires looking in the mirror and telling the truth.

PRAYER

Lord, deliver us from the foolishness inside ourselves.