I’m not an Aristotelian philosopher…thankfully.
However, it doesn’t follow that the old guy didn’t have some decent ideas. Here’s one of most famous (i.e., it must be since even I’m aware of it):
“Virtue is in finding the mean.”
In other words—balance. Since I need things in fairly simple terms, I’m thinking of one of the mainstays of children’s playground equipment, the teeter-totter, (a.k.a., the see-saw). I believe one of the basic properties of physics (which I never took in high school) has to do with the placement of the fulcrum, or centerpiece for the plank on top—it must be in the center, or someone will have an unfair advantage at play.
A bully, for example, who wants to keep his poor playmate suspended helplessly in mid-air.
So proper balance is protective. And the Bible is all for balance. Solomon made this intriguing observation:
Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or you will become as foolish as they are.
Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or they will become wise in their own estimation.
Okay, sir, so which one is it?
Actually, it’s both, and it intimates the precaution needed in each sense.
If I enter into a discussion that I’m not adequately prepared for in terms of information, mental clarity, and—especially spiritually—incisiveness, there can be a confusion that settles over me as well as the speaker. Yikes!
On the other hand, if I am led (emphasis on “God’s leading”) into a conversation, then I have the spiritual responsibility (and therefore, the corresponding authority) to bring accuracy and correction by “speaking the truth in love”. Again, to correct, not to win an argument. There can be no personal competition here.
Another very important and somewhat overlooked consideration concerns those who are listening in. They have to hear the distinction between truth and non-truth, the one bringing clarity and the other bringing misunderstanding.
Otherwise, they may be left hanging in mid-air as well.
Proverbs 26:4,5 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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