Fool Week: Get Wise Friends

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Proverbs 13:20)

Welcome to Fool Week. We’re dissecting fools this week in search of what it takes to be the opposite of wise. Hint: It’s not that hard.

bird_350Why does it matter if we know what a fool looks like? For one, hanging out with fools will get you hurt. Today’s proverb says that your friends rub off on you. Wise friends make you wiser. Foolish friends make foolish choices which leads to painful consequences that they share with their friends.

Looking to add some friends to your network? Here’s a tip from proverbs: Always look for friends that are wiser than you—at least a few of them. Be humble enough to be the least wise person you hang out with, and you’re bound to get wiser.

Think: Would you say most of your friends are wise or foolish? Which ones are the best influence on you? Who do you influence to be wiser?

Pray: Ask God to help you to walk with the wise and to avoid being a companion of fools.

Do: Make a quick list of your three wisest friends and then find a way to spend some time with them in the next few weeks.

Fool Week: Hear Me Speak!

“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” (Proverbs 18:2)

Are you ready to meet some fools this week?

bird_350This proverb is about pleasure, about what feels good. Which is more fun for you—understanding or being heard? Do you have a better time trying to figure out what’s what—or telling everyone else what it is even if you’re not really clear on the details?

This verse says the fool is more motivated by expressing himself than knowing what he’s talking about. Have you met him? I have. He makes regular visits to my mirror, the jerk.

But you don’t have to just accept yourself as someone who loves to hear yourself yak. You can get wisdom. You (and me) can ask God to help us to find more fun in learning than knowing, more joy in asking than in answering.

Think: Be honest with yourself. How important is it to you to have people respect you for your opinions? Is it so important that you sometimes forget to care about other people’s ideas?

Pray: Ask God to help you to find pleasure in understanding and not to delight too much in airing your own opinions.

Do: Ask a friend you really trust to be honest with you about how often they think you care more about talking then listening.

Fool Week: Blaming God

“A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD.” (Proverbs 19:3)

We’re meeting a lot of fools this week, including this one: The person who can’t take credit for hurting himself.

bird_350The thing about folly is that it doesn’t work, right? God’s way—the way of wisdom—isn’t just the spiritual thing to do, it’s the thing that works. Living life his way leads to more happiness, more success, more peace, more of everything that’s good.

Living life by my own rules to please myself, to prove myself, to show them all that I can make it on my own. That’s folly, and it doesn’t work. It leads to less happiness, less success, less peace, less of everything good.

But the fool doesn’t see it that way. The fool shoots himself in the foot and blames God for allowing guns to be invented. He drives away his family and friends with his out of control temper and blames God (and them) for their lack of loyalty. He ruins his life and hates God for letting it happen.


Think: Why do you think it’s so easy for us to blame God or others for things we do to ourselves? What would it take for us to be more honest with ourselves?

Pray: Ask God to help you to take responsibility for any pain you bring into your own life and then ask him to help you to learn wisdom from those mistakes.

Do: Look for examples this week of people foolishly blaming others for things they did to themselves.

Fool Week: Quick Words

“He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame.” (Proverbs 18:13)

Welcome back to Fool Week. You were wise to come.

bird_350Here’s another fool we can all relate to. This one has no obstacles standing between his mind and his mouth. If he thinks it, it just comes roaring out. Apparently, those obstacles have been moved over to between his ears and his brain, because whatever you’re saying to him isn’t getting through.

This person—and we’ve likely all been him once or twice or more—is entertaining to watch sometimes, but he’s humiliating to be. His biggest problem is that in the heat of the moment, he loses his fear of revealing his ignorance. He’s convinced what he has to say is vastly more important than whatever it was you just told him.

Jesus said, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” And the heart of the foolish is full of only themselves.

Think: Do you ever catch your mouth getting ahead of your ears? What could you do to make sure your ears win that race more often?

Pray: Ask God to help you to have the wisdom to listen before answering.

Do: Think about memorizing this wisdom verse: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19)

Fool Week: Hey, I’m Annoyed!

“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” (Proverbs 12:16)

Fool Week marches on.

bird_350Today’s fool believes that he has a biological need—a human right, even—to express whatever he’s feeling whenever he’s feeling it. So if you bother me, offend me—and especially if you insult me—I’m not going to wait around to let you know I am not okay with that.

This fool really likes saying, “I am NOT okay with that.” Sometimes really loud.

The prudent person, on the other hand, has developed the life skill of telling his emotions when they can come out and when they have to stay home. He decides, “Making a deal out of this insult isn’t going to help anyone; it’s only going to lead to less interesting trouble.”

That doesn’t mean he’s a chump; he doesn’t let every insult pass. He talks about how he feels sometimes—just not every time. He’s a cool cat, that prudent guy.

Think: How often do you keep from showing those around you that you are annoyed? How often do you let an insult pass without responding to it?

Pray: Ask God to help you not to show your annoyance at once, but to be able to overlook an insult when it’s the wisest choice.

Do: Notice this week who in your life can’t seem to keep from showing everything they’re feeling – and who chooses to let an insult slide without responding to it. If you’re curious, ask them how they do that.

Fool Week: Lie Your Way Out

“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” (Proverbs 14:8)

A lie is a powerful tool. It can definitely get you out of a tough spot. A good lie might even help you to get exactly what you want in any given moment.

bird_350But telling a lie is also like pushing the button on a time-bomb when you can’t see the clock. You never know when it’s going to go off, but you always know it’s going to blow up in your face eventually.

Unless you’re a fool. Then you’re positive you’ll get away with it forever.

The wise person makes a choice ahead of time: I’m taking lying off of my menu of options. I’m going to do the harder work of “giving thought to my ways,” of figuring out an honest strategy to solve the problem even if it costs more time, money, or effort than hiding the truth.

Think: Is lying still on your menu of options? If so, how often do you select it? What’s keeping you from removing it?

Pray: Ask God to help you to give thought to your ways and to reject the folly of deception.

Do: Notice this week how often you make the foolish choice to sacrifice truth for convenience.

Fool Week: Sad Dads

“To have a fool for a son brings grief; there is no joy for the father of a fool.” (Proverbs 17:21)

We’re wrapping up Fool Week with a moment of silence for the dads of fools everywhere. They’re out there right now grieving and joyless.

bird_350Everybody wants their dad to be proud of them. Of course we do. It’s built into us to want our dads to respect us and be glad to call us their kids. Sometimes, dads aren’t great at showing that. Dads can be fools, too.

But here’s something we don’t always ponder: Dads want to be proud of their kids, too. And it’s hard to be genuinely proud of what the Bible calls a fool—someone who has rejected God’s way for his or her own path through life. That makes wise dads sad, because they know every path but God’s leads to pain, heartache, and disappointment.

You can’t make your dad be proud of you—that’s up to him—but you can give him (or anyone whose opinion matters to you) good reason to be proud of you by growing in wisdom, looking for it and figuring out how to live by it.

Most dads want exactly that for their kids.

Think: Do you tend to think of your dad as a wise person? Do you think he wants you to be wise in how you live your life? Does that matter to him?

Pray: Ask God to help you to continue to grow in wisdom in a way that would give your dad – or anyone you respect – good reason to be proud of you.

Do: Read how urgently one dad begs his kids to go out and get wisdom in Proverbs 4:1-8.