“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 27:12
This verse introduces us to two types of people – the prudent and the simple. In other places in the book of Proverbs these two companions are referred to as “wise” and “naive.” It’s interesting to note that both start off on the same path and both “see danger” but they respond very differently. As a result of their responses they experience two very different outcomes.
“The prudent see danger and take refuge …”
In the book of Proverbs, prudent is used interchangeably with wise. A prudent person is a wise person. The prudent person sees the signs of danger and they change their path/direction. The prudent person understands the cause-and-effect relationship between what they choose today and what they experience tomorrow.
“The simple keep going and suffer for it.”
Simple is used interchangeably with naive. A simple person is a naive person. The simple person sees the signs of danger and yet they continue down the same path. The simple person lives life like today’s choices will not affect tomorrow’s experiences.
Prudent or simple
What is the big difference between the prudent and the simple? How they respond to what they see! When the prudent sees behaviours turning into unhealthy habits they do something while they can; the simple keep going. When the prudent see trouble in their financial horizon, they do something; the simple keep spending.
The proverbs end with a very specific warning/prediction: “… the simple keep going and suffer for it.” The simple suffer for refusing to act on what they see.
Unfortunately, I have experienced this too many times in my life. One example is my diagnosis with Type 2 diabetes in 2009. I knew that I was at risk because of my family history with it but I still continued to live a very unhealthy lifestyle. I had been warned by doctors that I was on the path toward Type 2 Diabetes and I needed to make some decisions to help avoid it but I didn’t. I saw the danger/warning signs and I ignored them. I guess I believed that somehow I was going to be the exception – that it couldn’t happen to me.
Sadly, this is how many people live their lives. They see the danger. Others may warn them of the danger but they continue down the same path all along thinking that they are fine but they’re not!
It’s what we do that makes the difference.
Seeing danger and doing nothing will not accomplish anything. We must make the necessary change now – whatever that is – while we still have the chance. Eventually, if we don’t it will be too late!
Are you prudent or simple? Is there anything that you need to do right now to avoid the “danger”?
***** This post was heavily influenced by Andy Stanley’s book The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.