“…you don’t need that negativity in your life.”
It’s the end of a great meme. See a few below.
They’re good for a laugh, but like the best comics tend to do, there’s an element of accuracy to the concept. Proverbs 22:10 gives us this advice:
Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.Proverbs 22:10
New International Version
Today’s Proverb is one of the reasons I gain so much from the Proverbs and recommend their daily reading to people. The practical, to-the-point advice serves us well—and they’re easy to remember.
The first question most of us have on a passage like this is, “What is a mocker?” A mocker is someone who treats something or someone (else) with scorn. It’s not just someone annoying or someone who teases you. This is someone who sets themselves against you or that for which you stand.
To put this in today’s terms, this person is obnoxious and thereby becomes a troublemaker.
“Drive out the obnoxious person who causes trouble…”—a rough translation of the thought conveyed here.
What are we to do with the obnoxious person who causes trouble? We drive them out. When we read “drive out,” this isn’t a reference to beating them up.
It’s not saying, “Rub them out.” The text is saying to send them away intentionally. It’s an intentional separation between you and the “mocker.” You go your way and they go theirs.
Lest this offends our modern-day sensibilities, look at what leaves with the obnoxious person who causes trouble: “strife, quarrels, and insults.”
In the language of the Proverbs (Hebrew), these aren’t just synonyms for the same thing.
The strife they bring is the arguments their arrogance stirs up because of anger or lying about people or situations.
The quarrels the obnoxious person takes with them when they leave are the legal (and legalistic) disputes they drag up to support their alleged “victimhood.”
Finally, obnoxious people also take insults with them when they leave, meaning the hurtful, disgraceful, selfish words they throw at those who don’t agree with them.
So what do we do when an obnoxious person who causes trouble is in our lives? We intentionally separate ourselves from them. When they leave us, they take their arrogant, angry, lies about others, legalistic (or legal) disputes where they are the victim, and their painful, selfish words they use against others.
When we look at it that way, why would we want that negativity in our lives?