Do not go out hastily to argue your case; Otherwise, what will you do in the end, When your neighbor humiliates you? Proverbs 25:8
Proverbs provides an amazing array of good practical advice for living. It also has passages that would help in any profession a person chooses. But there are certain proverbs that fit hand in glove with a specific profession. Here is one that definitely fits with the legal profession well. Since the word "argue" here has as one of its primary meanings, "to argue in court" or "to file a lawsuit" we can see that this has great wisdom to offer to someone who is a lawyer - or someone who is about to hire one.
Proverbs 25:8-9 is a great reminder to anyone who wants to argue a case with another - which of course fits perfectly with the legal profession. We are warned to not do this "hastily." When someone chooses to argue a case for themselves or against another - they need to make sure that they proceed with wisdom and caution. To go out and hastily argue a case is to do so without due diligence. There a dangers in doing this that are inherent in reacting quickly to things. First, we have far too much emotion in our immediate reactions to argue without undue prejudice in our thinking. We are blinded to seeing wisely - which is the ability to look at multiple angles of the issue. When you are blind to something - you are very succeptible to being "blind-sided" when arguing your case. A wise man takes the time to look at every angle and consider every argument before beginning to argue a case.
Our legal system allows for argument and cross-examination. This is inherently wise because it allows for two sides of an argument to be explored. It is designed to expose hasty decisions and ill thought out arguments so that wisdom and prudence prevail in the end. We would be wise to "cross-examine" ourselves when we have a knee jerk reaction that drives us to argue something too quickly. If we did this - we would avoid embarassment when someone who is thinking more rationally dismantles our open and shut arguments - and reveal them to be way more "shut" than open. This is what Proverbs warns us when it tells us to be careful about hasty arguments. We are warned about being humiliated by our neighbor in the end when we do this.
Here we find our Hebrew friend "acharith" again. This word speaks of the end - but does so from the standpoint of being able to think about what the end of our actions will be. Here we see that that the end of hastily argued points is humliation by our opponents. If we saw this before we started arguing in haste, we would have stopped ourselves long enough to properly think though what we were going to say. I am for anything that will stave off moments of high embarassment. That has meant seeing my natural tendency to jump to conclusions as more of a jump into a pit of poisoned spikes. To put it another way - it is very unwise to jump to conclusions. It is wiser to look before you leap upon someone with your supposedly lock-tight arguments. The wise man takes the time to consider first whether pre-prejudice has affected his thinking. The wise man takes the time to decide whether silence would be more effective than blurting out what he thinks. The wise man takes the time to consider the end of the matter - before starting it. This, dear saints, can rescue us from a plethora of painfully embarassing moments. Oh, and by the way, in court - it can mean the difference between a case that is won - and one that is humiliatingly lost.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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