Posted by: Don Linnen | 28 February 2019

So What is Foolishness?

Normally it takes me a few hours over a few days to prepare a blog post. Thanks to the Tim Keller devotional I mentioned in the last post, this one is easy. He did all the work. I just do a quick summary. It’s simple. I’m no fool.

Or am I?

How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?  – Proverbs 1:22 (ESV)

Keller finds five types of fools defined in the book of Proverbs: the mocker, the simple, the obstinate, the troublemaker, and the sluggard. Despite the obvious discomfort of descriptions that hit way too close to home, I press on with Keller’s explanations.

The mocker: “We live in a postmodern age that encourages deconstruction and in an internet age that makes mocking and scoffing easy and reasoned discourse difficult.”

The simple “believe anything [except for fake news – or maybe only their fake news]. Like children they may be over impressed by the spectacular and the dramatic, or they may need approval too much and so be taken in by forceful personalities who give it to them.”

The obstinate: “The main mark of fools is that they are opinionated, wise in their own eyes, unable to learn knowledge or be corrected.”

The troublemaker “stirs up tensions. This is someone who always feels the need to protest and complain rather than overlooking a slight or wrong. Their corrupt mouths produce deceptive omissions, half truths, and innuendo.”

The sluggard favors impulsiveness over delayed gratification. “He makes constant excuses for apparently small lapses but then is surprised when he is assaulted by poverty.”

Tempted as I am to list names and post video links to those I think most closely meet these definitions of a proverbial fool (there were 313M hits on my search for “fools”), I’m much better off reflecting on a mash of Keller’s prayers for each type of fool that I display.

Lord, help me to avoid the cynical air, internal scoffing, and frustrated superiority about how stupid everyone else is. Let me despise no one and respect everyone (and help me stop rolling my eyes).

Help me understand that lack of influence, sophistication, affluence, and coolness do not mean lack of wisdom.

Help me to overcome my natural obstinancy and be open to new ideas and criticism. Help me know when to be quiet and when to speak.

Help me to valiantly tell the truth, even when it’s not welcomed. But help me speak that truth in love and not in vengeance (and especially without being snarky).

And finally, Lord, help me to find the balance between the drive to succeed, accomplish, and please and my natural tendency to be lazy and do the easy thing the quick way (other than writing this post).

Keller says it so much better. Check out his Daily Devotions in the Book of Proverbs. Better yet, check out the real deal, the Book of Proverbs.




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