How To Spot a Fool

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. – Proverbs 13:20

The history of ‘April Fool’s Day’ is usually traced back to a change in the calendar, when the first of the year was moved from April 1st to January 1st. Traditionally, it is a day when it is considered acceptable to deceive people, just as long as no harm is done.

The Bible does have something to say about a “fool”, “fool’s”, “foolish”, and “foolishness”. And as Christians, we are warned about becoming a companion of fools. The Bible gives us plenty of characteristics of a fool, so that we can avoid the companionship of fools and also avoid the characteristics of fools.

“Birds of a feather flock together.”, the old saying goes. Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:33 that evil communications corrupt good manners. There are people in this world whose respectability is mistaken for ‘character’; they blacken everything and everybody they touch.

A young lady swished through the living room in a “formal” on the way to a dance. Her father, sitting beside a cold fireplace, remarked, “Now honey, you know that I don’t approve of this, and….” The daughter laughed and came out with the usual line: “Oh daddy, don’t be silly! Jane will be there and you said that she was a Christian, and Jim is taking her. He sings in the choir, and….” “Honey,” said her father, “reach in the fireplace and pick up one of those coals.” The girl studied the fireplace for a minute, and believing that she had outwitted her father, she picked up a coal that had been dead more than twenty-four hours. “See there,” she said gaily, “it doesn’t burn me!” She threw it back in the fireplace. “Now look at your hands,” her father said. “See there? Bad company will smut you every time.”

READ: Proverbs 14:7.

When you hear a person shooting off their mouth who obviously has no respect for God or the Bible, excuse yourself and leave the room. You may stay and ‘hear them out’ if you have some time to waste, but if you are there for learning, do not waste valuable time with them (Eph. 5:16).

A fool is revealed by their speech

READ: Ecclesiastes 5:3 and 10:14.

The fool has a surplus of words

Who talks the most in your family, or within your circle of friends, or during meetings with your work colleagues? That person is probably the most foolish person in the group.

The fool has slanderous words

READ: Proverbs 10:18.

To slander someone is to say an accusation against someone without verifying that it is true. Both things mentioned in the verse are equally bad. One is using flattery to cover hatred, and the other is lying about a person in order to damage their reputation.

The fool has scoffing words

READ: Psalms 14:1.

An atheist does not truly BELIEVE there is no God; they just SAY there is no God.

The fool has swift words

READ: Proverbs 29:11, 20.

A fool talks without considering a matter first. Prov. 18:13 – one of the most foolish types of programmes on television is the average news commentary with two or more people “debating” the issues. They have nearly every characteristic of a fool’s speech that the Bible gives.

A fool is revealed by their steps

READ: Ecclesiastes 10:3.

  • A fool has stumbling steps – Ecclesiastes 2:14.
  • A fool has sinful steps – Proverbs 26:11.

In the story of the Prodigal son, the fool was the young man who decided to leave home and waste his inheritance. When he came to himself, he decided to return to the Father’s house. The most foolish thing a man does is to reject the gospel. The most foolish thing a Christian does is to reject his Father’s fellowship and go the way of the world.

A fool is revealed by their spirit

READ: Proverbs 14:16.

A fool has a stout (haughty, proud) spirit

A fool promotes him/herself; a wise person humbles him/herself and lifts up Jesus – Proverbs 28:26 and 14:3.

A fool has a stubborn spirit

A fool is stubborn; therefore, they are not teachable – Proverbs 12:15. A fool is stubborn in rejecting the truths of the Bible about salvation, about service, about sin and separation, about service – Proverbs 15:5 and 23:9.

A fool has a swift spirit

A wise person is swift to hear, but slow to speak, slow to get angry, and slow to make a decision that requires contemplation – Proverbs 13:16, 29:20, and 19:2.

A fool has a seething (soon-angry) and striving spirit

A fool gets into arguments all the time – Proverbs 20:3; Ecclesiastes 7:9; Proverbs 12:16.

A fool is revealed by their sport

READ: Proverbs 10:23.

Sport is what makes a person happy. It is pleasure.

A fool enjoys mischief

We think of mischief as a harmless joke or prank, but in the Bible, it is more serious than that. Mischief is anything that is harmful to another person, and this is one of the seven things that are an abomination to God, according to Proverbs 6:18.

A fool enjoys meddling in the affairs of others

They are willing to lie about others in order to stir up a fight. They gossip and are always talking about other people to try to make people angry at them – Proverbs 26:17-19.

In closing

Many of us have been unaware of what marks a fool, and many of us are companions of fools. And many of us are foolish in our own ways.

It is essential to choose your friends wisely. Just as good friends have good influences, a friend who gets into trouble generally gets his friends into trouble with him.

Let us not be foolish, but wise. Let us be kind and witness to all people, but let us not have fools, but wise men, as our companions.

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