Reading the Word
“The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17, ESV)
Understanding and Applying the Word
Parents with multiple children will understand this proverb. Have you ever had a time when your kids became engaged in a conflict? This is a regular occurrence in our home with five little ones. When it happens, I always ask how the situation started. It never fails that when the first child shares their version of the events, I am ready to assign blame to the other child. After all, the first story is always believable. However, I also know that I need to hear the other side. What does child number two say happened? Without fail, the second version always points blame in the other direction and that story too is believable.
It is easy to run with the first thing we hear that sounds believable, but this is not usually wise. Today’s proverb tells us that the first thing we hear seems right until we hear another perspective or argument. In the case of disagreements, we need to hear both sides of the story. But this proverb applies to more than just interpersonal conflicts. This proverb is about critical thinking. We always need to be able to hear the different arguments and opinions on different topics and matters and then discern the truth. This is true whether it be settling disagreements with your children, evaluating political views, or Bible study. Critical thinking and discernment can be difficult tasks, but we must put forth the effort if we are to arrive at the truth.
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