(Prov 26:8 NIrV) Giving honor to a foolish person is like tying a stone in a slingshot.
This morning we continue our series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.” The first 12 verses of this chapter deal with fools. Back in the first verse we learned that Solomon said, “We no more give honors to fools than pray for snow in summer or rain during harvest.” When dealing with that verse I shared with you the definition of honor, from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the American language. To refresh your memory, this is how Webster defined honor back then:
1. To revere, to respect, to treat with deference and submission, and perform relative duties to. Example: Honor thy father and mother (Exodus 20).
2. To reverence, to manifest the highest veneration for, in words and actions; to entertain the most exalted thoughts of; to worship, to adore. Example: That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father (John 5).
3. To dignify; to raise to distinction or notice; to elevate in rank or station; to exalt. Example: Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honor (Esther 6).
Solomon was advocating reserving honor only for those to whom honor is due. Paul said something similar in his letter to the church at Rome (Rom 13:7). In the first verse of this chapter and in this verse we learn that it is simply inappropriate to render honor to a fool. The Good News Bible translation of this verse pulls no punches; it reads: “Praising someone who is stupid makes as much sense as tying a stone in a sling.” A slingshot was something that most people would be familiar with in Solomon’s day. Solomon’s reader’s knew that if you tied a stone to a the sling of a slingshot, first of all, it won’t go anywhere, and second, it will swing back and hurt you. So, in other words, the slingshot became useless and dangerous for the person using it. That’s how it is when you honor or promote a fool. I am sure we have all seen someone continually mess-up and then move-up. When this happens the person is often as useless as a slingshot that cannot fire and he or she becomes dangerous for both the person who promoted the fool (because their judgment is questioned) and for the peers and subordinates of the fool who now have to deal with a foolish person in a position of prominence; which never goes well. Most of the time the fool winds up misusing their power and the people they have responsibility over.
So what does this mean to you today? A few things:
1. Promoting of bestowing honor on a fool is inappropriate. Reserve honor or promotions only for those who deserve it. If you promote the wrong person your credibility and judgment will be questioned.
2. Promoting of bestowing honor on a fool will prove ineffective. Just like tying the stone to the slingshot makes it inoperable, promoting the fool will make your organization ineffective. The fool did not add value when they were simply in charge of themselves, and they will certainly not be value-added in charge of others.
3. Promoting of bestowing honor on a fool is dangerous. Just like the dysfunctional slingshot can hurt the user, a dysfunctional leader can hurt an organization. A common term today is “toxic leadership.” Toxic leaders can become like a parasite that destroy the organization from the inside out. So if you have anything to do with the selection process, do all you can to select qualified people, because the promotion of fool can be dangerous for all those involved.
Closing Confession: Father, I thank You for blessing me to be in positions where I can influence major decisions. As I am give the opportunity to influence who gets recognized, honored, and promoted, I declare by faith, that I will only bestow honor upon those who deserve it. I refuse to allow my integrity and judgment to be questioned by promoting people on anything less than merit and potential. I do what’s right, because it’s right, and I then seek to do it right, every time! Thank You Father for helping me make my organization a place that is well led, well liked, and a highly sought after place to work. I add value to every project You bless me to be a part of and I will never be a toxic-leader. I declare this by faith! In Jesus’ name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper!