We all know foolish (stupid) people. We see them every day on TV or at work. Everyone really knows they are a fool and speaking stupidly. But is this about “them”? I am being warned not to be foolish myself.
I have a tendency to jump into the fray. I answer them. I argue with them. I defend myself and others I care about. I get sucked in. It isn’t pretty.
To what use is my response to things that are clearly stupid? Wisdom challenges me to not respond.
So why not respond? I look foolish falling into the fool’s trap. That is not the way of Wisdom. God’s goal for me is to focus on the truth and speak it plainly. I can wait and circle back to the truth at the right time. It may only be a few minutes later. It may take longer. I am to speak the truth about Jesus. I just need to be careful about responding to the stupidity of some things.
Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool; you’ll only look foolish yourself.
~King Solomon | Source: Proverbs 26:4
Wisdom literature has a lot to say about fools. Proverbs 26 has many references. The skeptic and atheist are known to King David and King Solomon as fools. We hear David say: “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)
I have to be careful. We all should. This is not about moral superiority. David continues on in Psalm 14:2-3 and makes it clear that as God looks down on all people, He can find none who is not corrupt, emphasizing it with “not even one.”
Yikes! I resemble that remark.
The Hebrew word translated “fool” is nâbâl, which is an adjective having the meaning of “stupid, wicked” or “vile person.” It comes from the root verb nâbêl, which means “to fall away,” “figuratively to be foolish or (morally) wicked” or “causatively to despise, disgrace: – disgrace, dishonour.” So, the Hebrew word nâbâl refers more to bad moral character rather than just being stupid. He is foolish because he thinks God will not notice his bad behavior.
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.