Mima’s head was down. Here eyes were fixed on her younger sister’s essay, scanning the assignment that was due tomorrow. She heard footsteps and recognized her mom’s gait.
“Hey mom,” the footsteps stopped. “Lucy wanted me to pass you on a message. She said she’ll meet you in front of Walmart at 5:30, tomorrow afternoon.”
“Are you sure it’s not 5:00 here at the house?”
Mima let her sigh express her irritation. She almost regretted it, but she had a point to prove, after all. “Of course I’m sure. She told me today. Wanna see the text?”
“Wait did she tell you before lunch, or after?”
Mima reinforced her first sigh with a second, more forceful. “What does it matter, anyway?” She found the message on her phone and passed it to her mom.
“She sent this at 8:30 this morning? Well, plans have changed. She came to see me at work today and told me that she could pick me up here and we’ll go to Walmart together.”
Before I move on to the main content of this post, I want to start by acknowledging the strength of the word “fool”. I think this is largely due to the fact that we rarely use it in our day and age. On the off occasion that we do use it, it catches us off guard and packs a powerful – perhaps unwanted – punch.
However, the Bible has a lot to say about fools and foolish behavior. Apparently, it’s a lot more common than we proud people like to admit.
I want to stand by the Bible as best as I know how. The purpose of this post isn’t for me to point my finger at you or for you to point your finger at someone you know. Rather, I want to examine my own life and invite you to examine yours alongside me.
It’s also worth mentioning this is a companion post to last week’s, which was about wisdom. Let’s look at the same concepts from the opposite point-of-view.
If the wise express wisdom through thinking before speaking and learning from the more experienced, then fools tend to:
#1.Blurt out before thinking
Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them.
Sometimes it only takes a fraction of a second for me to realize what I’ve just said – to realize how silly it is. Sometimes I’m still in the middle of my sentence when I wish I could take my words back. It’s foolish to just blurt out my thoughts before I’ve finished processing them. There’s the option of correcting myself later, but it’s far better to just be careful in the first place.
#2.Disregard what others might know that they don’t
The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.
Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.
Each person bases their understanding of any given situation on their own baggage of past experiences. Based on my own prior knowledge, I sometimes think I know all there is to know about any given situation. However, it is foolish to cut other people off or automatically assume that what they think or know doesn’t count.
Consider Mima. She received a text from her mom’s friend and was certain of what she believed about the time and place of meeting. She didn’t stop to consider that her mum might have experienced else. She didn’t stop to consider that her mom might know something she didn’t.
Wisdom and folly – meaningless without God
They’re essentially two opposite approaches to life. Which is more fulfilling? Which is ultimately better? These are two questions that could be greatly expounded upon. However, I just want to touch on it briefly. Both wisdom and folly are meaningless when pursued in one’s own strength and without deep respect for God.
I saw that wisdom is better than folly,
just as light is better than darkness.
The wise have eyes in their heads,
while the fool walks in the darkness;
but I came to realize
that the same fate overtakes them both.
Then I said to myself,
“The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
What then do I gain by being wise?”
I said to myself,
“This too is meaningless.”
Consider this food for thought until we dig deeper into it next week.
Talk with me, now:
- Do you think “fool” is too strong a word to use?
- Are you prone to blurting things out before thinking? (If so, you’re not alone. I’ll be the first to admit that I do this too often. Will you join me in making a point to consider what you say *before* you say it? We can do it together, in God’s strength.)
- How might folly be better than wisdom? Wisdom better than folly? What do you think the last Bible verses from Ecclesiastes mean? Do they contradict each other?
Resources for deeper digging
Psst! For more on:
- Being slow to speak, listening to others and wisdom in general: read last week’s post.
- Being slow to speak (yes, again): read this post.