The Book of Proverbs makes over sixty references to “fools” and their “folly.” It’s a big topic. A fool is the opposite of a wise person.
Proverbs reveals these personal characteristics of a fool:
Fools cause conflict. “A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct …” (10:23), “A fool gives full vent to his anger …” (29:11),“… a fool is hotheaded and reckless.” (14:16), and “… every fool is quick to quarrel.” (20:3).
Fools talk more than they listen. “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” (18:2), “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame.” (18:13) and “… the heart of fools blurts out folly.” (12:23).
Fools don’t learn. “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?” (17:16), “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (26:11) and “The way of a fool seems right to him …” (12:15).
Fools are unreliable. “Like cutting off one’s feet or drinking violence is the sending of a message by the hand of a fool.” (26:6).
Employers should think twice before hiring a fool. “Like an archer who wounds at random is he who hires a fool …” (26:10), and fools don’t make good business partners (Walk with the Wise) – “If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.” (29:9).
Sadly, most fools self-destruct. “… a chattering fool comes to ruin.” (10:8), “A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.” (19:3). In biblical language, “ruin” used here means thrown aside or cast away by others. Fools blame God for their “ruin” instead of themselves and their own choices.
Finally, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (14:1). Wise people build while foolish people tear things down.
How do you deal with a fool?
Begin by remembering 1 Timothy 2:4 which says God “… wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
No person is beyond Jesus’ reach (Lessons from Paul’s Conversion). We are not here to condemn or ridicule others, but to point them to the Good News of Jesus Christ (Salt & Light in the Workplace). The workplace is your mission field.
Were we not all fools-of-a-sort before Jesus saved us?
Application: If God places a fool in your work-life do the following: maintain a constructive relationship with them, guard yourself against their folly, and tell them about Jesus Christ when they are ready to hear.