What Kind of Fool Are You?
Phil Bacalia - Executive Pastor
There have been more than a few times in my life where I have made a decision that left me feeling like a fool. Each of those foolish decisions produced negative consequences to varying degrees in my life. I don’t like feeling foolish, nor do I like the consequences of my foolish decisions. If I could help it, I would never make a foolish decision again. As we search God’s Word for remedies to our foolishness, we find that the book of Proverbs offers us a treasure trove of wisdom. Proverbs describes at least three different types of fools and offers solutions.
Which fool are you?
Fool #1 - Simple Minded but Teachable
“I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense.” Proverbs 7:7
This type of fool is often associated with age. I turn 40 this year, and as I look back at the 30-year-old me, I laugh at his foolishness. Truth be told, the 30-year-old me looked back at the 20-year-old me and also laughed. The point is, we don’t know what we don’t know. Think about the teenager, the college student, even the first-time parent — they all make foolish decisions largely because they simply don’t know any better.
Fool #2 - Arrogant & Hard-Hearted
“Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices.” Proverbs 1:29-31
This type of fool thinks they know better. They are too proud to ask for help. When correction comes, they not only ignore the correction, they despise it. Think of the man who is driving and knows he is lost but is too proud to ask for directions. When his wife suggests they might be lost, he rejects the suggestion and becomes angry. This could also be a person who doesn’t know how to accomplish something but is too proud to ask for help. They make foolish decisions because they are too proud and hard-hearted to receive wisdom.
Fool #3 - Set on Wickedness
“A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.” Proverbs 6:12-15
This type of fool has gone beyond being simple minded and arrogant to having their hear set on wickedness. Their heart is hard towards others. Their decisions are destructive, harming others and often harming themselves. These people often set their hearts on the pursuit of momentary personal pleasure. This kind of fool lives their lives perpetually chasing the next “high” at the expense of their health, finances, and relationships.
A Biblical Solution to Foolishness
Step #1 – Be a Student of Life
“Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy street she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” Proverbs 1:20-22
Life is full of foolish decision and mistakes, whether our own or those happening around us. While personal experience is often the most effective teacher, we can learn a lot simply by paying attention to life. Wise people see the error of their ways, humble themselves, and make changes. Fools repeat the same stupid decisions over and over again to their own harm.
Step #2 – Be Humble & Seek Wisdom
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15
Not even the smartest people are wise enough to handle every situation in life. And let’s be honest, most of us are of average intelligence. Life is easier and less painful when we admit we need the help and advice of others. Wise people humble themselves and seek the wisdom they need. Fools think they know everything and painfully find out they do not.
Step #3 – Be in Awe of God
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10
Think about it, when you get to the point that you do not fear the God of the universe, you do not respect the person who created you, you won’t acknowledge that he controls all things - it is no wonder your life is bent towards wickedness. When you don’t feel accountable to anyone, you will act like a destructive fool. If, however, you recognize there is a God, that He made you for a purpose, that He holds your life in the palm of his hand and you will one day give an account, the weight of that should drive you to value life. Wise people fear the Lord and live life accordingly. Fools spit in the face of God to their own destruction.
I have only scratched the surface of all that God’s Word has to say about wise and foolish people. I would encourage you to read a chapter of Proverbs each day for the next month, and strive for more wisdom in your life!