Lesson for March 7th, 2015
Behind the Mask
A wise person has a firm foundation of truth and wisdom that enables him or her to identify fools, sluggards, friends, and enemies.
Computer with Internet access, printer, copier, dictionary, poster board, markers
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
A hypocrite is a person who “pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.” What arenas in life clearly prove that actions are more important than words?
- Ask your group to create short (15 words or fewer) modern proverbs to illustrate the danger of hanging out with fools, sluggards, and enemies. Choose the best and send out to everyone on your social media lists.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- While we are not to “judge” others, we do need to be wise. How does a wise follower of God discern whom to associate with and whom not to?
- Thought Questions
It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Solomon agrees that “as a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly” (Proverbs 26:11). Why are “fools” so dangerous?
- Fools are wise in their own eyes and believe what they say and think.
- Fools are not willing to seek truth from anyone else.
- Fools are not able to learn from their mistakes and keep repeating them.
- Fools are not able to focus long enough to change their thinking or actions.
- Fools are not able to discern right from wrong.
Read Proverbs 1:8-19. Solomon writes that we must embrace the wisdom of our parents and stay away from sinful peers. This is where our education for wisdom starts. Why?
- Wisdom is learning to respect and listen to those who are older than we are.
- Wisdom is learning to submit to the direction of those in authority over us.
- Wisdom is seeking safe role models from whom to learn.
- Wisdom is seeing the folly of choosing peers as role models.
- Wisdom is not hanging around those who make unwise choices.
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted” (Proverbs 27:6). What does Solomon mean by this?
- True friends care enough about us to tell the truth.
- True friends can see what we can’t see in our own lives.
- True friends wound us by not flattering our egos.
- True friends have earned our trust over time.
- True friends are guided by wisdom.
Solomon warns us to be alert so that we can discern who our enemies are. He says, “Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. Though their speech is charming, do not believe them” (Proverbs 26:24, 25). How are we to recognize an enemy who looks good on the outside?
- We can identify an enemy by his or her charming speech.
- We can identify an enemy by his or her hard heart.
- We can identify an enemy by his or her hidden agenda.
- We can identify an enemy by his or her track record with us.
- We can identify an enemy by his or her inconsistent reasoning.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: Using a dictionary, posterboard, and markers, create three posters to hang in the church. Make one poster for fools, one for sluggards, and one for enemies. Define each and list five ways for wise people to identify these individuals. Use proverbs from Solomon as needed.
- Option 2: Use the computer to locate online images that illustrate the dangers of being associated with fools, sluggards, and enemies. Then combine these images with other materials (quotes, photos, YouTube videos, etc.) in a PowerPoint presentation on this topic. Share the presentation with the rest of your church.
- Option 3: Society is big on people having their own “truths” for their lives. Tolerance is taught. What are the dangers of a tolerant society that has no consistent wisdom and truths? Discuss with your group.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Think of a time when you behaved like a fool, a sluggard, or an enemy. What was the situation and what was the outcome? Did you learn anything from that situation that you’d change today if you were in the same circumstance?
- How can a church allow people to be diverse in their thinking without running the risk of letting fools, sluggards, and enemies overshadow true wisdom?