As a general rule, I try not to yell at my children. But there are rare circumstances when I find myself with no other option.
One of those times occurred at the end of a summer picnic at a friend’s house. In the process of gathering our gear, we lost track of our two-and-a-half-year-old twins. Unbeknownst to us, they had overheard that we were leaving and had run around to the front of the house and across the street to our van. They were quite proud of their speedy preparation for our imminent departure.
When I finally realized where they were, I ran out front to check on their safety. They saw me coming and began to re-cross the street, until I screamed, “STOP!” just before the next car sped by. Terrified by my uncharacteristic loudness and tone, both boys started crying. It took a while to calm them down, but it was worth it to have them unharmed.
In this section of Proverbs, wisdom is pictured as a woman who shouts at us on the street. It’s easy to be offended by her rebuke, but it’s really in our best interest. Her wisdom is readily available (Prov 1:20-21), but we choose to ignore it because we love being simple (Prov 1:22-23). In making this choice, we willfully reject God’s plan for change and replace it with the bitter fruit of deception (Prov 1:24-28) and desire (Prov 1:29-31). In the end, our own complacency destroys us, unless we listen (Prov 1:32-33).