Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fools Are Not Friends

by Larry Rouse


“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) The pitfalls of this life are many and there are also many who, because of a lack of wisdom, pay the price. There are moral and spiritual laws that are as certain as the physical laws that govern this universe. One may deny the law of gravity, but if he jumps off the roof of a tall building, life will teach him a lesson, even if that life is short-lived.

Our God created both mankind and the universe that he lives in. In that same creation he made both physical and spiritual laws that men need to learn. In His great mercy, He chose to instruct us concerning the greater of these two laws, His spiritual law, because this law brings both greater consequences and greater blessings. One of the reasons God gave His word in written form was to allow us to live an abundant life. “And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 6:24)

We live in times where scoffers abound that cry out against rules and restrictions. And it is a fact of life that when a person chooses to resist all rules and those who would teach him about these true principles, then no power in the universe will force it on him. The Bible describes this popular approach to life as the way of a fool.

Who is a fool? The word “fool” in the Bible “signifies ‘without reason’ ... want of mental sanity and sobriety, a reckless and inconsiderate habit of mind ... the lack of common sense perception of the reality of things natural and spiritual ... or the imprudent ordering of one’s life in regard to salvation.” -- Vine’s Dictionary

One of the great mistakes we can make in this life is to fail to identify a fool when he seeks a relationship with us or a loved one. There are terrible consequences that will follow those who have a relationship with such an individual. “A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil. He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” (Proverbs 13:19-20) These words may sound harsh, but they are none the less true. God wants us to take them seriously.

God has revealed the heart and the actions of a fool so that we might identify him. The fool looks at this life only in the short term, at the ways he can satisfy his desires now, at the things he can possess now. He has no desire to hear or to know of possible consequences, but he has a great interest in immediate fun and laughter. “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools. For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 7:4-6) The wise man knows that he learns how to live, by first learning how to die. The fool has no heart for such lessons and pursues headlong the fun of today.

It is no surprise then to see the fool rejoice in evil and in evil men. “To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom.” (Proverbs 10:23) I have seen young ladies attracted to this carefree, fun-loving man to their great hurt. A fool will take advantage of another in order to satisfy his lusts at the expense of that person, and then cast that one off like a used tissue. The fool will then will boast to others about his successful conquest. If it is immorality or the taking of another’s possessions, the fool considers it all a casual game.

One of the reasons I am teaching on this subject is because I once made a fool my friend. The fool has an enormous talent to sense the needs of another and then transform himself into the kind of person that other person wants. The fool will use his tongue to flatter others, to convince them that he alone understands them, and that others have misunderstood them and treated them badly. They have a fun way about themselves that makes you drop your guard because of your natural desire to have fun and feel that you belong. For the fool this is all a show, an act of hypocrisy, so that he might gain a temporary goal at the expense of another and then cast off the one he has used.

A fool has a great confidence that some find attractive. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15) He may be bold and love to express his opinion, but he does not know where he is going.

One of the great mistakes a person can make is to get in the way of a fool and his folly. “Better to meet a she-bear robbed of its cubs than to confront a fool immersed in folly.” (Proverbs 17:12) God warns us in many ways not to even try to teach a fool. “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.” (Proverbs 23:9) A fool will threaten you if he perceives that you are getting in the way. He will threaten to slander you and will carry out that threat if you do not submit to him.

There is a big difference in being a fool and being foolish. All of us have been foolish and learned, but the fool will not. This is the very person that Jesus warned about: “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” (Matthew 7:6)

The way of a fool is sad and hard. I watched a young lady, whose name was on the church roll, scoff at the wisdom presented by several to her about the importance of marrying a Christian. She pursued such a relationship with an unbeliever and even lived immorally with this man before she married. No one was going to teach her! She now has experienced her 3rd marriage, all to non-Christians, and has long since ceased attending with Christians. The sad part is that during her time in the church she also influenced others to bitterness and they, too, forsook the Lord.

A fool will never learn from his mistakes, but rather he will blame others for the consequences and then will do the same things over and over again. “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11) “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)

These are some hard lessons we must learn in this life. Learn wisdom, and make associations with those that love the Lord and His word. “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.” (Proverbs 19:1) “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15)

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