In your life and in your relationships it is very important to recognize fools and those who proclaim themselves to be wise but are not. If you know how to deal with them you will have greater peace and sympathy.

Take a few moments to think about whether there are people in your family, among your kinfolks, co-workers, acquaintances or friends who behave like fools.

“Fools take no delight in understanding,

but only in displaying what they think.” (Pr 18:2, NAB)

“The lips of fools walk into a fight.” (Pr 18:6, NAB)

“The mouth of the fool works its owner’s ruin, the lips of a fool are a snare for their owner’s life.” (Pr 18: 7, NJB)

“To retort without first listening is both foolish and embarrassing.” (Pr 18:13, NJB)

“It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” (Pr 20:3, NIV)

“As dogs return to their vomit,

so fools repeat their folly.” (Pr 26:11, NAB)

“Whoever spreads slander is a fool.” (Pr 10:18, NAB)

 

How to distinguish the wise or prudent from fools

“Glory is the portion of the wise, all that fools inherit is contempt.” (Pr 3:35, NJB)

“The wise of heart takes orders, but a gabbling fool heads for ruin.” (Pr 10:8, NJB)

“The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.” (Pr 10:14, NIV)

“The way of fools is right in their own eyes,

but those who listen to advice are the wise.” (Pr 12:15, NAB)

“Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.” (Pr 12:16, NIV)

“The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.” (Pr 12:23, NIV)

“All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.” (Pr 13:16, NIV)

“A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.” (Pr 14:3, NIV)

“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” (Pr 14:8, NIV)

“The wise person is cautious and turns from evil;

the fool is reckless and gets embroiled.

The quick-tempered make fools of themselves.” (Pr 14: 16-17, NAB)

“The crown of the wise is their wisdom, but folly is the garland of fools.” (Pr 14:24, RSV)

“The tongue of the wise pours out knowledge,

but the mouth of fools spews folly.” (Pr 15:2, NAB)

“The heart of the wise seeks knowledge, a fool’s mouth feeds on folly.” (Pr 15:14, NJB)

“Wisdom is a fountain of life to him who has it, but folly is the chastisement of fools.” (Pr 16:22, RSV)

“A thorn branch in a drunkard’s hand, such is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” (Pr 26:9, NJB)

“Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.” (Pr 28:26, NIV)

“Fools give vent to all their anger;

but the wise, biding their time, control it.” (Pr 29:11, NAB)

 

How not to handle a fool

“Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Pr 1:7, NIV)

“A single reprimand does more for a discerning person

than a hundred lashes for a fool.” (Pr 17:10, NAB)

“Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.” (Pr 17:12, NIV)

“Do not speak in the hearing of fools;

they will despise the wisdom of your words.” (Pr 23:9, NAB)

“Wisdom is too high for a fool.” (Pr 24:7, RSV)

“Snow no more befits the summer, nor rain the harvest-time, than honours befit a fool.” (Pr 26:1, NJB)

“Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.” (Pr 27:22, NIV)

“If a wise person disputes with a fool,

there is railing and ridicule but no resolution.” (Pr 29:9, NAB)

 

How to deal with fools

Heed Jesus’ warning: “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” (Mt 5:21-22, RSV)

The book of Proverbs puts it this way: “Whoever mocks the poor reviles their Maker;

whoever rejoices in their misfortune will not go unpunished.” (Pr 17:5, NAB)

“The poor” are not just those who have few monetary and material possessions, but also those who are less gifted in psychological maturity and a sensible personality.

Here is what you can do. First, love them. Jesus commands: “Love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12, NJB)

Second, pray for them. You cannot change the hearts of fools by arguments and exhortations, or by shaming and rebuking. It is only by the grace of God that fools can be transformed to abandon their sin of pride and the desire for self-aggrandizement.

Third, rather than fuming with anger while a fool around you rages on and on with endless complaints and jealous boasting, do as these proverbs tell you:

“Do not answer fools according to their folly,

lest you too become like them.” (Pr 26:4, NAB)

“Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.” (Pr 14:7, RSV)

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