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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Where do you rack up your frequent flyer miles?

A man or woman of understanding can be impacted by just one rebuke.  A fool can hear the same rebuke hundreds of times and still go on doing wrong stuff or just plain acting "foolishly".  Have you ever noticed how quickly the fool leans toward rebellion?  It is in his nature to not only be drawn to rebellion, but to actually be involved in trying to incite others into rebellion, as well. The fool has trouble with authority - they resist being led.  Known rules or laws are just "suggestions" to the fool - they can take them or leave them, depending on their mood.  Most of us think of the fool as living outside of the boundaries - coloring outside of the lines most of the time.  In fact, they are pretty aggressive to resist anyone telling them they need to "color within the lines"!  The fool pursues evil like it was a holiday to be celebrated and then wonder why evil seems to revisit them again and again.  Truth be told, what we "visit" the most will become our most frequent "visitor".

An intelligent person learns more from one rebuke than a fool learns from being beaten a hundred times.  Death will come like a cruel messenger to wicked people who are always stirring up trouble.  It is better to meet a mother bear robbed of her cubs than to meet some fool busy with a stupid project.  If you repay good with evil, you will never get evil out of your house.  The start of an argument is like the first break in a dam; stop it before it goes any further.  Condemning the innocent or letting the wicked go—both are hateful to the Lord.  It does a fool no good to spend money on an education, because he has no common sense.  Friends always show their love.  What are relatives for if not to share trouble?  (Proverbs 17:10-17 GNT)

One of the frequent "visits" of the fool is the visit to the house of "arguments" or "quarrels".  It becomes their frequent stomping grounds.  The fool can stir up a quarrel faster than the wind can conjure up a dust storm.  By pushing the envelope as it applies to respect and submission to authority, the quarrels they often pursue are those which are aimed at this rebellion toward authority in their lives.  It can be some outward authority, such as their employer, the police, or even a parent.  It can also be an "inward" authority, such as resistance to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  Whenever the fool sets out to resist authority - pushing the envelope a little further - they can stir up discord and unrest wherever they go.  Unfortunately for us, the fool doesn't visit this house of quarrels alone - they bring others to the party!  We need to be cautious about the "invitation" we respond to - for a fool knows just the right things to say in order to manipulate others into the argument.  The wise will avoid this open floodgate as much as possible.  They have learned that even the quickest "visit" to the house of quarrels inches that floodgate open. The wise will drop the offense before it has a chance to drown them in the full-on argument which could ensue.  

The fool also believes it is important to "make a point" with everything they say and do.  The wise have learned the truth that not everything we know or feel needs to be made a point of.  We can hold back because we recognize there is a time and a place for every exchange of knowledge, or the acknowledgement of feelings - this moment may not always be the right moment!  The fool will struggle with this matter of "fairness" - they want to be "in the know" about everything, otherwise life is not being "fair" to them. This may be why they so frequently find themselves visiting the house of quarrels!  Not everything we know is meant to be shared - especially with the one who cannot handle the information.  Not everything we feel needs to be expressed - because expressed feelings are like painting a target on you when a fool is around.  Sometimes we need to exercise a little more wisdom than the fool and just hold back what we could say or what we could express in our feelings.  They cannot be trusted to handle either one of these with any great credibility or skill.  God calls for us to use judicious thought in our dealings - especially as it applies to dealing with the fool.  This way, we continue to side with good and avoid the trap or allure of evil.

Fools also visit the place of "wrecked relationships".  If their first haunting ground is the house of quarrels, does it surprise you their second most visited haunting ground would be that of destroyed or damaged relationships?  The fool has an issue with loyalty - comes from their heart of rebellion or resistance to authority.  This idea of unswerving allegiance just evades them. They incite quarrels, share confidences, and generally do things "unthinking", causing rifts in relationships quite frequently.  They don't usually choose this "hangout" as their first choice, but it becomes a place they rack up a whole lot of frequent flyer miles just because their disloyalty gets them access over and over again!  The fool cannot see the value in trusted relationships - because they have not learned the value of trust.  The fool has learned to be "present" in relationship, but not a "servant" in relationship.  God's idea of loyalty involves both presence and service - to have one without the other is really not loyalty.

A fools folly is never satisfied - they must revisit their places of comfort over and over again.  Sometimes we need to step back long enough to read the sign over the door of our most "frequent haunts" to see if we really know where it is we spend our greatest amount of time.  The places we rack up all our "frequent flyer miles" may just be evidence of how closely we are living to the edge of being a little foolish in our actions.  The wise will realize when the most frequent haunts are just taking us away from what God intends for our lives - healthy relationships, growing trust, and depth of character.  Just sayin!