4 Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or you will become as foolish as they are.
5 Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or they will become wise in their own estimation.
— Proverbs 26:4-5

The U.S. Coast Guard defines situational awareness as knowing "what is going on around you." This is a fairly simple definition for a skill that can seem incredibly convoluted. Everyday life demands that we consider the complexity of other people, relationships, bills, jobs, and responsibilities. I'm not sure about you, but I often feel as though the situational awareness in my life is somewhat lacking.

"Did I say the right thing in that situation? Did I speak with love and grace? What are my motives with this person? Are my actions glorifying God?"

These are but a sample of the labyrinth average folks, who genuinely want to love God and love others, must ask themselves on a regular basis. There is a level of self awareness that the Proverbs urge its readers to strive toward. For instance, verses four and five of today's reading are paradoxical. They literally cancel each other out. Why would Solomon the Wise say something so foolish? 

Solomon's greater point does not concern arguing correctly- but rather that the wise use situational awareness in their dealings with others. What may work with one individual may be disastrous with another. How can we delicately alter our attitudes, words, and actions to better reflect a situational awareness that is wise. Today, let us judge each situation with the discernment and wisdom encouraged by Proverbs.

Consider praying that God would you the wisdom needed for today. Remember, James 1:5 says, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you."