Suffering with Fools
No one wants to be thought of as a fool ...
(Wesley Chapel, Florida, 1995) Joseph Aaron, 20, was hit in the leg with pieces of the bullet he fired at the exhaust pipe of his car. When repairing the car, he needed to bore a hole in the pipe. When he couldn’t find a drill, he tried to shoot a hole in it.
(Ontario, Canada, 1996) A man cleaning a bird feeder on his balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death, police said Monday. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled chair Sunday when the accident occurred, said Inspector Arcy Honer of the Peel regional police. It appears the chair moved and he went over the balcony, Honer said. One of those freak accidents. No foul play is suspected.
We will go to great lengths to avoid doing foolish things ...
And still, we manage to do so many things that are just plain dumb. If only we only thought about the situation more. If only we realized the more obvious consequences of our actions. Perhaps if we learn why some people are foolish, it will prevent us from following after them.
A Fool Doesn’t Want to Learn
“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge” (Proverbs 1:22). A fool doesn’t want to take the time to learn, thinking that the knowledge he currently has is sufficient. Oh, he may act as if he is listening, but because his behavior doesn’t change, we know he wasn’t truly listening. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:26-27). How could one be more foolish than to come to the Lord for His words and then give no thought for the future?
Oh, and you can’t force a fool to learn. “Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his foolishness will not depart from him” (Proverbs 27:22).
Inevitably the fool reveals his true nature. Foolishness is not something that is easily hidden. “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool lays open his folly.” (Proverbs 13:16).
A Fool is More Interested in His Own Words
When a fool enters a discussion, he is not interested in learning. He just desires an opportunity to spout off what little he knows. “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart” (Proverbs 18:2). And once the fool’s mouth starts flapping, we are given full proof as to how little is there. “A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness” (Proverbs 12:23). This is why wise men speak as little as possible (Proverbs 10:19). The more you say, the more likely you will make a mistake. But such does not concern the fool. “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness” (Proverbs 15:2).
Since a fool’s conversation doesn’t have much in the way of content, he makes up for the lack with a large number of words. “A fool's voice is known by his many words” (Ecclesiastes 5:3). Watch the next time you see a politician interviewed. When the interviewer trips him up with questions he wasn’t expecting, words will just pour out of his mouth as he frantically tries to think of a reasonable sounding answer. By the time he gets done babbling, you have forgotten what was the question. Meanwhile, it appears no harm has been done as he hasn’t said anything of consequence anyway.
Fools are Led by Their Emotions
“The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15). It is easier to just accept what you are told. It takes effort to weigh the value of each word. Hence, a foolish person is easily led into sin (Proverbs 7:6-27). The wise person realizes that Satan and his followers lie (John 8:44).
Fools want to be right, but they don’t have the ability to reason from the truth. Therefore, when they are caught in the wrong, their impulsive reaction is to fight. “A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for blows. A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Proverbs 18:6-7). He gets carried away by the emotional desire to win at any cost. “It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel” (Proverbs 20:3).
Nothing labels a man a fool better than a man’s anger. “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9). Yet a man’s anger rarely solves problems (James 1:20). Righteous living requires consideration and thought. There are far too many traps laid for us by Satan. To give replies without careful consideration is unwise (Proverbs 18:13). A man caught up in the emotions of anger is not looking for the traps.
Not all fools blast out in their anger. Some hide their feelings and use subtle backstabbing to gain their revenge. “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool” (Proverbs 10:18). But it doesn’t matter if a person’s anger is dramatic or subtle, the anger of men rarely leads to righteousness.
Fools are Arrogant
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26). The foolish man always believes he is right. He doesn’t seek the advice of others. Hence, the fool doesn’t really believe he can sin. This is what led to the downfall of Israel (Judges 17:6).
“Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is favor” (Proverbs 14:9). Even when caught in sin, the fool will try to minimize the impact by saying that the sin wasn’t really so bad. They will excuse themselves by pointing out that others do the same thing. Some will go so far as to declare that the sin really isn’t a sin. In the end, the fool makes a mockery of the seriousness of sin. Sin becomes a sport to the fool (Proverbs 10:23). Think about the young men who call fornication “scoring.” Or, gambling institutions who want their wares to be called “gaming.”
Without the belief that he can sin, the foolish man plows through life ignoring the signs of danger up ahead. “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3). The fool won’t let such a minor thing as sin stop him from reaching for his goal.
Ultimately, a Fool Denies God
Because a fool refuses all restraint on his actions, he will ultimately turn against God. “The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good” (Psalm 53:1). They use their own standards and emotions to judge whether actions are right or wrong. They no longer consider God’s thoughts on any matter. Soon God never enters their minds (Romans 1:20-22).
It is not that the evidence of God’s existence is not available to them. The evidence is obvious, but to accept the evidence means to acknowledge that God is over them. Such men would much rather create gods to please their whims than to submit to the one, true God.
Why should any want to be such a fool?