Skip to main content

What can we learn from a fool?

A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether. (Roy H. Williams)

Are you the 'smart man' or the 'wise man'? I cop to being a 'smart' person most of the time, and a 'wise' person some of the time. At times, I forget there are things I don't have to 'experience' in order to 'learn' from them - through the lives of others that have experienced them. I don't have to take a safari in the African wilderness to enjoy the many things others have experienced while they did because they have photos, movies, and great stories to tell. No, I did not experience it first-hand, but I can learn much from the experience of those who did. Maybe one of the most important things we can learn from the wise man is that of learning to control our tongues - not speaking everything we think!

A person who talks sense is honored; airheads are held in contempt. (Proverbs 12:8)

What does it mean to 'talk sense'? It is more than be the smartest one in the room. It includes the idea of seeing the truth that some others miss - being open to listen, learn, and then speak. A wise person will learn to listen before they speak. They will ponder the 'unspoken' as well as that which is aired. Why? There is probably a more significant message in the unspoken than there was in the words that were uttered. Sometimes what we 'leave out' is really the 'crux' of what needs to be understood. A wise person learns to 'read between the lines', so to speak. The fool has what scripture labels as a 'perverse heart'. A heart that is willfully determined to go against what is expected or desired. When scripture refers to someone as a fool, it doesn't always mean someone is 'unlearned' - it means they have chosen a path that is contrary to what is right or true. They are determined to go wayward - sometimes out of ignorance, but at others with determined steps. 

A 'wise man' learns from both the 'smart' and 'foolish' man. Why? There is as much wisdom in learning from one who has made the mistakes and learned from them as there is in learning from the one who has a willful determination to make them all of the time! Yes, we'd all like to go through life never making a mistake, but we will. How much more wisdom can one possess if he observes both the 'smart' and the 'foolish' man? I believe it could be significant! We might listen well to the words of the 'wise', while discounting the words of the 'fool', but even the words of the fool can reveal a lesson to us. The lesson? When we willfully choose to go counter to what God asks and expects of us, that obstinance will lead down a path headed for some pretty big pitfalls. We can learn to avoid those same pitfalls by observing, listening to, and learning from the fool. Chances are the 'wise' man has observed the fool and will choose a different path as a result. Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,