“Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”Proverbs 26:12
The first 11 verses of this chapter describe the folly of fools, and metaphorically dig a pretty deep hole for anyone who follows the way of the fool. If there were a pecking order to the types of people in the Proverbs, sluggards, mockers, and fools would certainly be at the bottom of that metaphorical hole. Interestingly, verse 12 tells us that there is yet another type of person who pushes these other 3 aside and grabs the shovel, digging even deeper than the fool. This is the person who is wise in their own eyes. Do you see the one wise in their own eyes? Their folly manifests itself in 3 primary ways: First, they think of themselves more highly than they should. Paul addresses this in the New Testament in Romans 12:3, using these same words of caution. The Proverbs often share a similar sentiment.
This first problem, thinking too much of themselves, consequently leads to the second: They think too little of the opinions of others and do not seek or appreciate wise counsel. Many Proverbs speak to this (Proverbs 12:15; 13:1; 15:12, 22; 19:20, and many more). It is truly a great fool who not only thinks their own knowledge is better than anyone else’s, but who also scorns the wisdom and knowledge that others would share. Certainly the two go hand in hand.
Finally, a person wise in their own eyes thinks too little of God, and refuses to heed the ongoing theme of the Proverbs which is this: Fear the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Three areas in which a person is even worse off than a fool. Wisdom is not found in ourselves, rather wisdom comes from the fear of the LORD, the counsel of others, and our own ongoing discernment as we apply the first two to our lives. Are you wise in your own eyes, or are you living with a healthy fear of the LORD and a respect for the wisdom of others?