What a Fool

The Bible has plenty to say about fools. Do a quick search and you will discover that there are dozens of verses mentioning fools in the Scripture, and the majority of them are in Proverbs. The “book of wisdom” provides an abundance of insight into what makes one wise and, on the contrary, what makes one a fool. Proverbs 18:2, for example, says, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (ESV). This was perfectly demonstrated mid-May in front of the Qingdao Auto Show in China…

Chinese media reported that an unidentified Chinese man hired three men wielding sledge hammers to destroy his Maserati Quattroporte outside the show. Why? Because he was unhappy with the Furi Group, the company that handled the $390 repair job on his $423,000 car, claiming that they used secondhand parts.

Oh, okay…well at least he had a reason. A foolish reason! This man was perturbed with a company that did a minor repair job costing a miniscule fraction of the cost of the car, so in order to vent his frustration he decides to destroy the car? What good, pray tell, did that do? None…other than that he got to “express his opinion” in a very public, very noisy, very expensive way. But he clearly takes no pleasure in understanding, and that makes him a fool.

Proverbs 29:11 reads, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” This unidentified rich man certainly gave full vent to his spirit! He was irked. He was ticked. He was spitting nails! He has so mad he just had to do something to express his fury. “Ah!” he said, perhaps; “I will bash the car with sledgehammers! That will show those imbeciles at the Furi Group!” A wise man would have found a much healthier (and much less expensive) way to vent his frustration and even to correct the problem, but not the fool.

Proverbs 13:16 says, “In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.” Paying men to destroy a nearly-half million dollar car with sledgehammers is definitely folly. Hiring men with sledgehammers to smash the business with which the man was irritated would have been foolish too, but it would at least have made some semblance of sense. If there is such a thing as being foolishly foolish ( a fool squared, maybe?) this man is it. Rather than vent his anger at the ones with whom he was upset he paid men to destroy his own car. There is no knowledge in this action, no prudence whatsoever. But he certainly flaunted his folly!

The reality, of course, is that it doesn’t take hiring three dudes with sledgehammers to publicly smash a car to qualify as a fool. In fact, if you want to be humbled do that search I mentioned above…find the passages in the Bible that mention the characteristics of fools and read through them. If you are honest with yourself you will find, as I do, that far more often than we care to admit we act like fools, too. Fortunately, many of the passages in Scripture that describe the fool also describe how to not be a fool. Bottom line, Proverbs 1:7 explains it like this: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Would that we fear the Lord, seek instruction and act in wisdom!

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