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Friday, May 20, 2011

Beat your head on that wall one more time

9 A sage trying to work things out with a fool
   gets only scorn and sarcasm for his trouble. 
(Proverbs 29:9)

There is absolutely nothing to be gained by trying to convince a fool that his thoughts or actions are foolish!  Try it sometime and you will walk away from the experience feeling like you have spent that hour hitting your head against the wall!  A fool just cannot see the trees for the forest - they just don't have perspective.

I have been in conversations at times that I feel as though they are "spinning out of control" - much like a tornado!  What I have learned is that I cannot ever "convince" the one who is not going to be open to being convinced!  When you present evidence, and there is absolutely no openness to evidence, it is hard to move beyond that resistance.

So, how do we deal with the folks in our lives that just don't ever seem to be open to the evidence - whether it is the facts they need to do their job better, the truth they need to embrace to keep a relationship together, or the evidence that the Word of God is valid?  I don't profess to know everything there is to know about this subject, but here's what I can glean from scripture (a good place to start, if you want my opinion):
  • Don't argue with them!  Just put the facts out there - what they choose to do with the facts is their choice.  You are only "obligated" to share the truth and then let it stand.
  • Don't try to reason with them!  This should go without saying, but a fool is NOT reasonable!  There is something lacking in their ability to see the event, process, or relationship in a rational manner.  I don't profess to know what that is that is "lacking", but I do believe that reasoning with a fool is much like trying to plug a leaking levy with your finger!  When you think you have it all control, another "leak" pops up!
  • Don't try to play on their emotions!  This is dangerous ground - simply because they are so emotional in every response they make!  There is little balance, so thinking that you can play on their emotions is as uncertain as predicting how many ants dwell in one ant colony!  It is a moving target!
What I can say is this - fools don't want our advice, don't appreciate our directives, and don't value our wisdom.  So, don't spend a whole lot of valuable time trying to change them.  Point them in the right direction, but don't be dismayed when they don't follow your advice!