Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.Proverbs 18:13 (NLT)
When I was working at the City of Salem (before I entered ministry), one of the things the library department hosted were author talks. These were generally pretty cool, and featured very well-known authors of some of the most popular books in the nation. I love that the talks weren’t just limited to those who sold fiction (their books were made up stories), but also invited authors to speak who were experts in a particular field and had written books about it. One of my favorites was an author named Mary Roach. She writes on all kinds of crazy topics, but her stuff is fascinating. The next time you’re on Amazon or at a library, check out some of her stuff. Maybe you’ll find it fascinating too.
One of the coolest things people like Mary get to do is research. She flies all over the world, investigates things, talks to others who are experts in a particular field of study, and learns as much as she can before she even sits down to start writing her book. In fact, the book doesn’t even start to take any kind of shape – no outline or even premise – until the research is completed and it all makes sense in the author’s head. Only then does the author begin to write about topics that can be intriguing, but also accurate.
Unfortunately, in this world, the idea of completing research before actually sharing one’s ideas is a lost art. We often times speak as though we are an expert in a certain area, yet have no idea what we are talking about. Even worse, we won’t let those who know more than we do – those who have gained wisdom in that area – convince us otherwise. Our society is quickly becoming so close-minded that the sharing of truth has become near impossible sometimes. Truth has become what we think, not what is factual.
King Solomon knew a thing or two about a few things. Well, maybe a lot of things. He was the wisest man who ever lived. He saw this ideological train-wreck coming when he wrote our verse today, “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.”
In other words, we are called to listen to others. Learn from them. Seek wisdom. Seek knowledge. And, no, learning from only those who think like you already doesn’t count. Find those who have a different view. Seek to understand. Only then is true wisdom gained.
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