November 05, 2019


The writer of Proverbs divides the world into two types of people: wise and foolish. He has much to say about both. A man is made wise by listening to the Lord and living His life in surrender to God’s will and way.

God IS wisdom and the source of all wisdom in this earth. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’” David said. When we reject Him, we reject the process of receiving the wisdom we need. We become foolish, vainly thinking that our mere humanistic thinking is sufficient for life.

And, fools will hurt you. They ruin relationships, cloud decision making, and lead others astray. If you are a man who is seeking wisdom, you will find that dealing with foolish people is a great burden.

I have recently been helping a pastor work through an issue with a very foolish person in his church. This individual is proud and believes their opinion is more important than anyone’s. They are creating strife and discord in the church and there is a very clear unwillingness to submit to godly spiritual leaders. A foolish person, wrapped in religious clothing, is even harder to deal with because they approach others under the guise of spirituality.

Their anger and issues are hard to deal with, which the writer of Proverbs points out. It is a very heavy weight for a leader to bear.

“A stone is heavy and the sand weighty, but the provocation of a fool is heavier than both of them.” (Proverbs 27:4)

Here are twenty instructions from Proverbs about how to recognize and deal with foolish people … some things a wise leader needs to understand.

1. They will not accept instruction

 Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

2.They will not honor others

 Proverbs 3:35: The wise will inherit honor, but fools display dishonor.

3. They will quickly gossip and slander others

  Proverbs 10:18: He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool.

4. They do not have real, spiritual understanding

Proverbs 10:21: The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of understanding.

 Proverbs 16:22: Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it, but the discipline of fools is folly.

5.They always think they’re right and will not listen to nor accept humbly the counsel of others

  Proverbs 12:15: The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

6. They are quick to anger

  Proverbs 12:16: A fool’s anger is known at once, but a prudent man conceals dishonor.

  Proverbs 29:11: A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.

7. They will always, ultimately display their foolishness. It cannot be hidden for long.

  Proverbs 13:16: Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool displays folly.

8. If you associate with them, it will lead to harm

  Proverbs 13:20: He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

9. They are deceitful, often not even realizing their deception. They are full of self-deception.

  Proverbs 14:8: The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, but the foolishness of fools is deceit.

10. They are arrogant and careless, particularly about walking into evil.

  Proverbs 14:16: A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless.

11. They are quick to tell everyone what they think, but it’s folly. They have an opinion on everything, that they believe is right.

  Proverbs 15:2: The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly.

12. They reject discipline

  Proverbs 15:5: A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.

13. They do not spread real knowledge (although they think they do)

  Proverbs 15:7: The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not so.

14. Don’t give them position or honor

  Proverbs 26:8: Like one who binds a stone in a sling, so is he who gives honor to a fool.

  Proverbs 26:10: Like an archer who wounds everyone, so is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by.

15. They will not receive a healthy rebuke (because they always think they’re right)

  Proverbs 17:10: A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.

16. They are dangerously protective when you deal with them. They will hurt you to protect their way.

  Proverbs 17:12: Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.

17. They don’t want understanding, but they love to tell you what they think.

  Proverbs 18:2: A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind.

18. They create strife

  Proverbs 18:6: A fool’s lips bring strife, and his mouth calls for blows.

19. They love to quarrel

  Proverbs 20:3: Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel.

20. It’s useless to try to reason with them

  Proverbs 23:9: Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.

  Proverbs 26:4: Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him.

  Proverbs 26:5: Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes.

All of us are foolish at times, and we’re all capable of becoming foolish. Every leader must evaluate first his own life, to see if he is acting or living foolishly. A wise leader pursues God fervently and humbly, which is to pursue wisdom. But also, a wise leader must know how to recognize and deal with foolish people, particularly those who are causing discord, contention, and strife.


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