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Life Hack #23: Fool Me Not

Life Hack #23:

Wise conversation is way over the head of fools; in a serious discussion they haven’t a clue. (Proverbs 24:7)

In times gone by, men would gather at the gates of the city and engage in serious conversation. It was a meeting of the educated minds. Issues were settled there, and wisdom was passed down. The leaders of the city would settle disputes, pass judgments on behalf of a wronged party, and just give insight into life decisions. It was a place where "wisdom" was spoken. A fool was not to be the one engaged in the conversations of giving advice or passing on a judgment for the wronged party. Why? They were clueless as the intent of the heart, and this rendered them "useless" in making such decisions. They were to remain silent - for their "advice" would only muddle the matter. I wonder how much "foolish" conversation goes on in places of decision-making these days - especially since we don't have the "gates of the city" where wise leaders gather to hear the problems of the people?

Why is wise conversation over the heads of the fools? A fool thinks he knows truth - believing almost anything he hears and sees without really testing it to be sure it is the truth. Imagine two mothers bringing one small infant to the gates with a fool sitting in the place of making the decision of who the real mother might be. He might believe the one who is crying the hardest, making the most impassioned plea, or even caressing the small life with tender hands is the "real" mother. He judges by what he sees and hears, not by what wisdom would know. A wise person would know the true mother would rather see her child live in the hands of someone else than to have the life of the child taken all together. The true mother would not allow the child to die and would give over the child to the other woman. In turn, the heart of the true mother would be revealed. Wisdom goes beyond seeing and hearing, to examining the heart. How well does the fool examine the heart? Not so well, I am afraid!

A fool is unwilling to take the time to really listen. A fool already has an answer forming in his own head before the one speaking has a chance to finish, often missing some of the very detail which is necessary to really render any kind of a reliable or sensible decision. The fool thinks he knows the answer - often based on some previous experience, what he has been told, read somewhere. It may not be tested and true, but he believes it to be what is needed. He formulates this answer in his mind and believes he knows the solution, even without hearing the entire argument or heartfelt plea of another. In not listening, necessary details are missed. In being so determined to already know the answer, he shuts down conversation. In getting the cart before the horse, there will be a miserable journey indeed!

The wise will learn not to rely upon the foolish for their wisdom, but rather will take the time and effort to seek wise counsel. The conversation of the fool is his undoing - it reveals the truth about the lack of depth of his heart and his unwillingness to learn. The wise will not engage a fool in decision-making because they know decision based solely on what one believes because of past experience or simply because someone else did something a certain way is not the most reliable source to determine future action. Experience plays a big part in our decision-making process, doesn't it? To rely solely upon experience is dangerous - for not all experience validates truth. When engaging in conversation about important life decisions, go to the wise. Their source of wisdom comes from a deep well - not from the misplaced hopes and imaginations of the mind of a fool! Just sayin!


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