The approach of April Fool’s Day brings to mind what the Bible says about fools. There are many references that show us the characteristics of a fool. From a tongue-in-cheek perspective, I have put many of these characteristics into a list of at least ten ways you can be a fool.
Please note: You can take this list in any order. Also, any one or more of these way can qualify you to be a fool. Keep in mind that if you make a conscious effort to keep from following these foolish ways, you just might be well on your way toward becoming wise. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!
Way #1. Deny God’s existence.
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1a, New American Standard Bible, NASB)
If you don’t believe in God, you’re off the hook. You don’t need to waste your time in worship and prayer. This reminds me of a joke: An atheist, upon viewing a few people praying together, commented to his friend, “Will they ever learn that prayers are a total waste of effort and time?” And then, out of habit stated, “Thank God I’m an atheist!”
Just think of it: If you’re an Atheist, you can do anything you want without having to worry about a divine authority telling you, “Don’t to do this!” or, “You have to that!” You can be a proud evolutionist and believe that everything happened by chance. You can lift your head high claiming that you came from a monkey! Yes, you’d make a perfect humanist—oh, and a perfect fool, too!
By the way…QUESTION: What is so ironic about Atheists? ANSWER: They’re always talking about God.
Way #2. Mock at sin and guilt.
“Fools mock at sin [guilt], but among the upright there is good will [the favor of God].” (Proverbs 14:9)
An easy way to be a fool is to not take sin seriously and make fun of making amends. It’s never your fault if something you’ve done is thought to be wrong or dishonest. “I’m sorry,” or “I apologize,” are unthinkable to you. “Confession” is not in your vocabulary. Rather, it’s always somebody else’s fault. In this way, you don’t have to make amends for your actions. And if someone tells you otherwise, then they’re just being judgmental and silly.
Comedian Henny Youngman joked, “I have a very fine doctor. If you can’t afford the operation, he touches up the X-rays.” To mock at sin and make light of guilt is like touching up the X-rays: You may be avoiding the expense but that doesn’t get to the problem that needs to be fixed. This would conveniently qualify you to be a fool.
Way #3. Be arrogant and conceited.
“An arrogant man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper. He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.” (Prov. 28:25-26)
Arrogance and conceit form one big ball of wax that fits the mold of a fool. According to sources, “arrogance is an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner. Conceit is excessive appreciation of one’s own worth or virtue.” (StackExchange.com)
To fit this mold all you have to do is think of yourself constantly. Your mind is always taking a selfie of yourself. The only three people that mean the most to you is me, myself, and I. You are Numero Uno in your book. Your theme song is, “I Did It MYYYYY WAYYYYY!!!.” And when you’re dealing with others, you gleefully tell them, “My way or the highway.” Never mind their feelings or concerns and the strife it causes. (Speaking of strife, see the next Way.)
Consider how conceit dovetails with Way #2. American rock singer, David Lee Roth is credited with the quip, “I’m not conceited. Conceit is a fault and I have no faults.” This reminds me of C.S. Lewis who remarked, “If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed.”
Way #4. Stir up strife.
“A fool’s lips bring strife. And his mouth calls for blows. A fool’s mouth is his ruin. And his lips are the snare of his soul.” (Prov. 18:6-7)
Do you like to stir up strife? Do you take delight in saying things that cause conflict, controversy, contention? And are you attracted to the disaster that follows? Then you’d fit in well as a fool who stirs up strife. This is a temptation that not even religious people can sometimes resist.
Humorist and author, Mark Twain (born Samuel L. Clemens) gives this illustration:
“So I built a cage, and in it I put a dog and a cat. After a little training I got the dog and the cat to the point where they lived peaceably together. Then I introduced a pig, a goat, a kangaroo, some birds, and a monkey. And after a few adjustments, they learned to live in harmony together. So encouraged was I by such successes that I added an Irish Catholic, a Presbyterian, a Jew, a Muslim from Turkestan, and a Buddhist from China, along with a Baptist missionary that I captured on the same trip. And in a very short while there wasn’t a single living thing left in the cage!”
Way #5. Spread Slander.
“He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool.” (Prov. 10:18)
You, too, can be a fool if you like to whisper behind people’s backs, spread some juicy rumor, and gossip with a flare for digging up some dirt. Spreading slander is especially gratifying to use on those you can’t stand—persons you’d like to get even with for doing something that hurt you.
R. G. LeTourneau was for many years an outstanding Christian businessman—heading a company which manufactured large earthmoving equipment. He once remarked, “We used to make a scraper known as ‘Model G.’ One day somebody asked our salesman what the ‘G’ stood for. The man, who was quick on the trigger, immediately replied, “I’ll tell you. The ‘G’ stands for gossip because like a talebearer this machine moves a lot of dirt and moves it fast. (Encyclopedia of Illustrations #707).
The fool who slanders others knows no bounds in destroying the good reputation of others they despise. It has been said that the slanderer differs from the assassin only in that he murders the reputation instead of the body.
Way #6. Be Quarrelsome.
“Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man. But any fool will quarrel.” (Prov. 20:3)
While some people prefer to do the honorable thing and stay out of quarrels, fools find themselves in the middle of them. Rather than avoiding a fight, a fool is looking for one. It often comes out in tones of rage and revenge. This sort of person is easily offended. He or she has a short fuse and will explode even if someone looks at them the wrong way. There is too much hate and not enough love in a quarrelsome person (Prov. 10:12).
Interestingly, there’s a cost when fools quarrel…
“But why did you leave your last place?” the lady asked of the would-be cook.
“To tell the truth, mum, I just couldn’t stand the way the master an’ the missus used to quarrel, mum.”
“Dear me! Do you mean to say that they actually used to quarrel?”
“Yis, mum, all the time. When it wasn’t me an’ him, it was me an’ her.”
Way #7. Be a hypocrite.
“But the Lord said to him, ‘Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness. You foolish ones, did not he who made the outside make the inside also?'” (Luke 11:39-40)
Jesus repeatedly call these self-righteous Jewish leaders “hypocrites.” The Greek word for “hypocrite” literally means “stage actor.” It’s all about putting on a phony front, putting on a mask, and hiding behind fake religion. The Pharisees were talented actors when the public, their audience, was watching them. But behind the scenes, when the audience wasn’t around, their masks came off, and they reverted to their true selves.
They could give an outstanding performance, appearing to be fine upstanding leaders. But it was all for show. In their hearts and minds they were only interested in serving their own personal interests, and usually at the expense of the people they professed to care for.
The Pharisees and others like them perfectly followed the letter of the Law, down to dotting every “i” and crossing every “t”. But they took everything too far and completely squelched the spirit and intent of the Law. Thus, they twisted everything around and used the Law to give themselves overbearing power over the people.
These and other leaders in Jesus’ day were lacking true justice and morals in much the same way that crooked, corrupt leaders do today—from politicians to religious fanatics to law professionals, to social elites and the like. Be a hypocrite and you can also be a fool like many of them.
Way #8. Be narrow minded.
“A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind.” (Prov. 18:2)
To be a good ol’ fool, be so narrow-minded that you convince yourself that you are wise. Fool yourself into thinking that understanding of the truth is not relevant, only your own feelings and inclinations.
It’s like what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he said there were many in the past, “Professing to be wise, they became fools,” (Romans 1:22). Their attraction to lust and corruption, instead of the one and only God and his standards led them to think they were smarter than God. But they were actually acting like fools.
Their narrow-minded thinking led them to exchange the truth of God for a lie. Thus, they thought they were really being wise when all the time they were really being fools. As a result, God gave them over to their own “degrading passions,” not unlike the way fools think and live today. Any person can be a fool in this way if one is too narrow minded to believe the truth that they are believing a lie.
Way #9. Repeat the same foolish mistakes over and over again.
“Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” (Prov. 26:11)
Irish Statesman Edmund Burke coined the saying, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” There are various versions to this saying. Similarly, it could also be said, “Those who refuse to learn from past mistakes are bound to repeat the same ones over again.”
The underlying reason fools repeat their mistakes is because they never learned from their experience in the first place. First, they fail to understand their mistake. Second, they refuse to accept they made a mistake. And third, that’s the mistake. Result: They repeat their folly.
To be a real good fool at repeating mistakes do the following:
- Fail to learn from your failure;
- Don’t tell yourself you’ve failed;
- Don’t make room for the possibility that you could fail;
- Make excuses if you do fail.
- Blame others for causing your failure.
- Don’t believe you can do better when you fail.
Way #10. Despise God’s wisdom and instruction.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7)
True knowledge begins when one fears a just and holy God. But fools despise his wisdom and instruction. Even those who say they believe God exists, foolishly refuse to revere God and his moral standards. In turn, fools tend to follow the many ways we’ve just listed. In time, justice according to God’s wisdom and instruction is affected and respect for decency and order vanishes.
The late Chuck Colson once commented, “Without ultimate justice, people’s sense of moral obligation dissolves; social bonds are broken. People who have no fear of God soon have no fear of man, and no respect for human laws and authority.”
A THOUGHT TO PONDER:
Now, after reading this list, you might think to yourself, “I’m not guilty of any of these ways. I must be pretty wise!” Be careful not to think this way! For this could be another sign of foolishness!
First Corinthians 3:18 says, “Let no one be under any illusion. If any man [or woman] among you thinks himself one of the world’s clever ones, let him discard his cleverness that he may learn to be truly wise. For this world’s cleverness is stupidity to God. It is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’,” (J.B. Philipps New Testament).
Ironically, the best way to be “wise” is to be a “fool” for the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:18-31). No fooling!
Good News to YOU!
P.S. If you sincerely do not want to follow the ways of fools, remember the lines in this song,
Seeking You as a precious jewel,
Lord, to give up I’d be a fool.
You are my all in all.