I am amazed at the super intellectual progressive branch of so called Christianity. One just has to read some of their posts on the internet to come away with a strong check in ones personal spirit. Amazing rebukes to the literal reading of Scriptures like, “The sin of Sodom (Gen.19:4, 5) was not a request for homosexual acts, but inhospitality.” Here in lies the pervasive manifestation of what the Bible calls and labels fools and their folly.
Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly. Proverbs 17:12 NKJV.
Fool, nabal, Strong’s # 5036: Nabal (noun) is used widely used in Proverbs, the term nabal frequently translated “fool” and nebala, “folly”; nabal, however, denotes a wicked person, an evil character, “shamelessly immoral,” equivalent to “a son of Belial” Nebala carries the same meaning as nabal, a disregard for moral and spiritual claims.
In every way, a nebala is senseless, impious and a disgrace, and his actions are sinful folly. Nebala refers to sins of immorality. A request for homosexual relations was regarded as an act of folly (Genesis 19:4, 5; Judges 19:23, 24).
Folly and fool are opposite to wisdom and wise. Being a fool is a way of life enticing to the immature, but can lead to destruction and ruin. In comparing wisdom and folly, wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness (Eccl. 2:1-13). Involved in this conclusion is that wisdom leads a person on the right path to the brightness of the full day while folly entices one to the way that leads into darkness (Pro. 4:18, 19).
Apparently he does not concentrate on what is right (Prov. 17:24). Associating with a fool, who has a twisted sense of values deprives one of knowledge (Prov. 14:7).
A fool is not someone of diminished intellectual capacity, nor a court jester, but one who makes an intellectual decision to choose moral perversion as a life style.
Now what if you don’t want to be the “companion of fools” but you want to try to reason with one? The reality is you can’t reason with a fool, because it’s inevitably going to become an argument.
The Bible is very clear about the hostility you should expect from a fool: Proverbs 12:16 A fool’s wrath is known at once. Fools are quick tempered and will often respond with anger. It’s so miserable dealing with a fool Proverbs 17:12 says it’s better to “Meet a bear robbed of her cubs,than a fool in his folly.” A fool will hate what you have to say: Proverbs 23:9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words. And Proverbs 14:9 says “fools mock at sin” describing the scorn you’ll receive if you correct or rebuke a fool.
The clear instruction from Scripture is not to waste your time dealing with a fool; it is a futile, frustrating endeavor. You can’t talk any sense into a fool, and not to sound too simple, but this is what makes him a fool: he won’t listen. He won’t learn.
He could experience terrible punishment and discipline, but he won’t change: Proverbs 27:22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him. If he would listen he wouldn’t be a fool: Proverbs 8:5 O you simple ones, understand prudence, And you fools, be of an understanding heart. The unfortunate reality though is the best solution with a fool is to let him continue in his foolishness.
The problem though is it’s hard not to respond to a fool: Proverbs 27:3 A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the provocation of a fool is heavier than both. When a fool provokes you it’s hard (heavy) not to respond, all the while knowing if you don’t respond the person will remain a fool. This creates a dilemma in that you know you can’t respond, but you feel like you should. The situation is described perfectly in Proverbs 26:4 and 5:
- Proverbs 26:4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. You’ll “be like him” in two ways:
- It is so foolish to answer a fool you have to be one to do so.
- You won’t be able to help but look like a fool when you respond, hence the quote, “Don’t argue with a fool because onlookers won’t be able to tell the difference.”
- Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. You want to respond so he doesn’t continue to think he’s right and remain a fool.
You have a verse saying not to answer a fool and a verse saying to answer a fool. It looks like a contradiction unless you consider how well it captures the predicament you’re in with a fool: you can’t answer a fool because of his foolishness, but you feel like you should answer so he doesn’t continue in his foolishness. Despite how much you might want to respond though – Don’t! – unless you want the frustration the Bible clearly warns you’ll experience.