Talking Sense to Fools

Proverbs 23:9 — Don’t bother talking sense to fools; they’ll only poke fun at your words (MSG).

I once heard someone define stupidity as doing the same thing over and over expecting to get different results. Another word for stupidity is foolishness.

Before I go any further, I want to make sure you understand the difference between a fool, and a person who makes mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Humans are all flawed creatures, and you’ve probably found that you make multiple mistakes daily. Fools are people who do not learn from their mistakes. They have a habit of making wrong choices. Then they murmur and complain about the unfavorable results, but they still make no changes.

I used to think fools were waiting on me to correct their stupidity. I figured they would be delighted for me to tell them how to change their behavior and get the results they desired, but I was wrong. Fools are not interested in gaining wisdom. They’re more interested in proving conventional wisdom wrong.

Proverbs 18:2 says, “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind” (NASB). If you don’t support what they’re doing, fools would rather you just leave them alone. They are going to do things their way no matter what the outcome might be. That’s why it’s called foolishness. If you try to “talk sense” into such people, they will either blow you off or ridicule you. Either way you are wasting your breath.

Fools generally have to learn lessons the hard way, and for someone like me, this is a hard truth to swallow. It goes against my nature to have to sit back and watch someone fall flat, but I have to admit that following this principle has saved me from a lot of frustration. It’s aggravating to give someone sound advice, and then watch as the person makes a poor choice anyway. Do yourself a favor today: Don’t debate with a fool. Model sound judgment and make right choices yourself. Your example may get through to him.

Proverbs 28:26 — He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe (NIV).

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