Nudges | People Nudges | Praised by Fools
Better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool. Ecclesiastes 7:5
“I’m the most popular member of the atheist club,” Marli announced. Ray lifted a brow and smiled at his purple-haired granddaughter. “Well now, what does a person have to do to win that contest?” he asked. Marli rubbed her black-rimmed eyes and shrugged. “My opinion essay got published in the paper and everyone was like, ‘Whoa, you’re the greatest!’ Then they were all like hanging around me and stuff. I might run for president of my class. Get those stupid Ten Commandments out of the hallway and shut down any clubs that don’t support LBGTQ rights.” Ray nodded slowly. “Popularity seems really important at your age, I know, but criticism from wise people got me further in life than approval from the foolish” (Ps. 14:1).
Popularity has become the single most important criterion for making judgments about people. If someone says the popular thing, looks the right way, pleases the right groups, then we eagerly hand over our trust and approval. Politicians make life-or-death decisions based on the polls. TV shows invite viewers to cast their votes for their favorite reality stars. It matters not how worthy the person is; it only matters whether they are popular. We seek out rock stars with the IQ of a rock pile for their wisdom. We quiz athletes with one too many concussions about everything from Kleenex to elections, while we shove aside those who’ve proven themselves wise and loyal. However, the cautions of wise people are worth more than the cheers of a mob.
Final Thought: The value of praise is measured by the quality of the audience. Whose praise do you seek?
Prayer: Father, I get caught up in approval ratings like everyone else. I’d rather have ten people cheering my decision than one person telling me I’m wrong. But what if you sent that one person? Help me welcome the criticism of the wise. Amen.