HOW TO RELATE TO A FOOL (1)

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

MAY 26, 2024

TOPIC: HOW TO RELATE TO A FOOL (1)

BY T. O. BANSO

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.  Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eye” (Proverbs 26:4-5 New King James Version).

A dictionary defines a fool as “a person who behaves in a silly way without thinking” (Cambridge Dictionary). But the characteristics of a fool in the Bible go beyond this. For instance, the Bible says a fool says in his heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1a; 53:1a). Thus, someone can be a professor and still be a fool by Bible standards.

In Proverbs 18:2, the Bible says a fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart. Therefore, if you see anyone who fits into this description, he is a fool. If you also see someone who is wise in his own eyes, he is a fool according to the Bible (Proverbs 12:15).

As I have said, the Bible gives us different characteristics or behaviours of a fool. The Book of Proverbs particularly talks much about the fool and the wise and says how to relate to a fool. That’s the focus of this devotional. You don’t have to call anyone a fool. However, you will meet, from time to time, people who are fools according to Bible description. You must relate to them according to what the Bible says.

How should you relate to a fool?

1. Don’t argue with a fool. Argument with a fool wastes time because you can never win. It is useless arguing with a fool. Proverbs 29:9 says, There’s no use arguing with a fool. He only rages and scoffs, and tempers flare” (Living Bible). Note the first part of this scripture: There’s no use arguing with a fool. The second part of that scripture tells us why it is useless to argue with a fool: He only rages and scoffs, and tempers flare. Arguing with a fool may turn you into one! The Revised Standard Version renders Proverbs 29:9 thus: If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.” Don’t argue with a fool.

Is there another reason you should not argue with a fool? The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice” (Proverbs 12:15 English Standard Version). A fool believes he is right and will never concede to a superior argument or reason. Therefore, it is useless to try to convince him.

Verse 16 of Proverbs 12 says,A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted” (New Living Translation). Because a fool is quick-tempered, don’t argue with him. He could act foolishly when he loses his temper. Avoid a quick-tempered person. In their anger, some fools have killed or injured others.

Proverbs 29:11 says, A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back” (New American Standard Bible). Don’t expose yourself to unnecessary danger by arguing with a fool. Don’t argue with a fool. It’s a waste of time. Leave him with his opinion or position. Lose to him!

2. Don’t try to talk sense to a fool. This is related to the first point. A fool does not appreciate wisdom or knowledge. Trying to talk sense to him is a waste of time. Proverbs 23:9 says, Don’t try to talk sense to a fool; he can’t appreciate it” (Good News Translation). A fool can’t appreciate the sense you try to talk to him. The New International Version says, Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.” A fool will despise or make a mockery of the words of wisdom you try to speak to him. He will not value it.

A fool is more interested in what he wants to say than what you want to say. Instead of listening and gaining wisdom, he wants to show that he is smart. Proverbs 18:2 says,A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (English Standard Version). The Good News Translation says, A fool does not care whether he understands a thing or not; all he wants to do is show how smart he is.” Note the phrase: all he wants to do is show how smart he is. Such a person will remain a fool.

3. Don’t try to knock some sense into a fool. You can achieve more by correcting an intelligent person than by trying to knock some sense into a fool. An intelligent person will appreciate rebuke or correction but a fool hates and despises it. Proverbs 12:1 says whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. No matter how much you beat a fool, he will not stop being foolish.

Proverbs 17:10 says, Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool” (New King James Version). The Contemporary English Version says, “A sensible person accepts correction, but you can’t beat sense into a fool.”

No amount of beating will get foolishness out of a fool. Proverbs 27:22 puts it thus:No matter how hard you beat a fool, you can’t pound out the foolishness” (Contemporary English Version).

4. Answer a fool according to his folly and don’t answer a fool according to his folly. This seems like a contradiction but it’s not. Proverbs 26:4-5 says, Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eye” (New King James Version).

From this scripture, we see that there is a time not to answer a fool according to his folly and there is also a time to answer a fool according to his folly. If answering a fool will make you look like a fool, don’t answer him. But if not answering him will make him feel wise in his eyes, answer him.

The Contemporary English Version puts Proverbs 26:4-5 this way: Don’t make a fool of yourself by answering a fool. But if you answer any fools, show how foolish they are,  so they won’t feel smart.” Know when to refrain from answering a fool and when to answer him.

I will stop here and bring you the concluding part of this devotional tomorrow. Relate to a fool according to the Word of God and don’t be a fool. Don’t act foolishly.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to relate to a fool the way I should. I shall not be a fool in Jesus’ name.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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