The value system in the world we live in is completely perverted. Perverted by the actions of the foolish who defame the moral standards set by the family, the church, and society. Today, moral-spiritual standards are no longer fashionable, but something out of the ordinary. Foolishness has come to be called fun today. Through this article we want to see how we can not let ourselves be overcome by the challenges of the fool.
Don’t answer the fool according to his foolishness
The word “foolish, foolishness” according to the Oxford English dictionary means behavior that shows a lack of sense or judgment — lack of mind, of balance, recklessness. The action or deed of a fool is without any judgment. According to Solomon, wisdom is not for fools because they despise it. Why? Because madness is attached to their hearts and they are inclined to listen more to iniquity than to the words of the wise. That’s why a rod is for their backs. Solomon says that the consequence of their choices is the rod, punishment, and the consequences that are allowed by God to punish and discipline them.
A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools. Do not answer a fool according to his foolishness, or you will also be like him. (Proverbs 26:3-4 )(NASB)
The wise man is called not to answer the fool after his madness. But how can he do this? When we are provoked by the words or deeds of fools, we must not give them importance or draw attention to them. Moreover, we must not answer them for their deeds so that they do not think themselves wise and important. So how do we differ from the crazy ones if we answer them with the same coin? “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I say to you, do not show opposition against an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other toward him also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak also. (Matthew 5:38-40)( NASB)
The other day we went to the park with our boys. While Paul and Samuel were playing with a ball, a child approached and took the ball from them and threw it over the fence in a person’s yard. The angry boys came to complain about the boy’s ugly deed. I told them that the boy had done it on purpose and that he wanted to provoke them, but they must not be defeated. But when Samuel saw the boy, he came near and pushed him. In contrast to Samuel, Paul approached and greeted him and tried to build relationships with him, even though the child did not want to respond to Paul’s greeting.
Jesus says not to be challenged by those who want to hurt us, but to respond well or help them see their madness and be rebuked by our right attitude. So not answering the fool according to his foolishness does not mean not answering him.
Answer the fool according to his foolishness
If we do not answer the fools, they will think they are wise and will continue to attack the person by word or deed. That is why we must answer the fools for their madness so that they may be rebuked and ashamed of their folly and stop.
Answer a fool as his foolishness deserves, so that he will not be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:5)( NASB)
But how should our response be? Let us look at the example of Abigail and how this woman judiciously saved her and David’s lives from the insane challenges of her husband Nabal in 1 Samuel 25. While David was fleeing with his soldiers, he appealed to Nabal (whose name means crazy) for help. But Nabal, instead of being thankful, and rewarding David for his protection and care for Nabal’s shepherds, he blatantly refused and attacked him with accusations and ugly words.
The fear of the Lord will keep you from the challenges of the fool
The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, and the knowledge of God’s Word gives us the standard by which we can understand life. And this standard is formed by knowing the Word of God to which Solomon’s wisdom calls us.
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction,
To discern the sayings of understanding,
To receive instruction in wise behavior,
Righteousness, justice, and integrity;
To give prudence to the naive,
To the youth knowledge and discretion,
A wise person will hear and increase in learning,
And a person of understanding will acquire wise counsel,
To understand a proverb and a saying,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:1-7 )(NASB)
The fulfillment of the Lord’s Law is a call to fellowship with Wisdom Himself, with God. This is exactly what Solomon points out in Chapter 3:
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil (Proverbs 3:7 )(NASB)
Doesn’t the Law tell us what is good and what is bad so that we can deviate from evil? And if the fear of the Lord is the beginning of the wisdom by which God teaches us what is good and what is bad, protecting us from the foolish challenges of this age, then the fear of the Lord is also contrary to madness, evil, and pride.
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride, arrogance, the evil way,
And the perverted mouth, I hate. (Proverbs 8:13 )(NASB)
Wisdom teaches us what is right and how to protect ourselves from the challenges of fools who disregard and despise the counsel of the wise.
And you, my dear, how do you respond when challenged?
Translated by Olya Trikolich