“The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.”
This verse contrasts gullible people (the simple) with those who have discernment (the prudent). If you lack discernment and are gullible, you are susceptible to being deceived by the deceitful schemes of those who plan evil. As a result, you will inherit folly. You will embrace things that aren’t true, which will inevitably lead to problems.
But if you are prudent and discerning, then you are able to detect statements and assertions that aren’t true. You are able to distinguish right from wrong. You will recognize false claims, and you will not be deceived by manipulative schemers.
It is why Paul says in Ephesians 6, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” The message could not be more important for our time and place in history, and it fits with our emphasis on discernment.
Breaking News! Everyone has an opinion and a platform, and every day we are bombarded with stories, articles, blogs, tweets, and sound-bites that make a mind-numbing flurry of claims, counter-claims, criticisms, assertions, declarations, and announcements.
Navigating through this blizzard of information and noise requires great discernment and discipline, because many of the messages are designed to appeal to your passions. The intent of these manipulative messages is not to inform you with truth; rather, the goal is to draw you in by confirming your existing perceptions and feelings, which is a dangerous thinking error called “confirmation bias”.
Confirmation bias occurs when you look for and find only information that supports your existing opinion or perspective. It is selective perception. It’s when you only look for confirming evidence and, and you avoid or reject disconfirming evidence.
Sherlock Holmes also spoke about confirmation bias: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
In summary, don’t be simple and gullible. Beware confirmation bias. Don’t believe everything you think. Trust God and develop the discipline of discernment.
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.” (Proverbs 21.2)