Are You Acting a Fool?
I‘m a fool… and you may be one too. This morning as I was reading through Proverbs, there were so many interesting verses that caused me reflect on who I am as a person. Once such verse was Proverbs 18:2 “fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions”. If you know me at all, then you definitely know that I can be opinionated. When I know what I know, it can be very difficult to persuade me to believe otherwise. There is nothing wrong with having a well formed opinion that is based on fact, experience, research and the knowledge of experts. However, when you voice your opinion about a topic that you have very little knowledge or personal experience in, you may be acting a fool.
I remember having a phone call with a close friend of mine nearly seven years ago. She called me out of the blue and was SOOOO EXCITED!!!!! I had known this friend for many years and since I really respected her and her opinion, I was interested to hear what she had to say. However, after about 30 seconds, like a porcupine sensing danger, the quills on my body stood up! Porcupines have poor vision, they can’t see where danger is coming from, therefore they use their quills to protect themselves. Since I am not a porcupine and I don’t have quills to protect myself, I have to resort to other means of self defense. Since I am a big guy I have several different options at my disposal, however the thought of physically harming one of the most loving people I know would have been downright evil, so I resorted to my next best weapon, my mouth.
Looking back now it easy to see how foolish I was that day. Because I had been in sales much of my adult life, each time a friend or family member joined one of those “pyramid schemes”, I was at the top of their contact list. Because of that, I could sense an “opportunity” from a mile away. This time was no different. I remember the first words that came out of my mouth that day…”oh no, not you too!” And even though she tried to reassure me that this one was “different” (everyone says theirs is DIFFERENT), I wanted nothing to do with it. The more she talked, the more I resisted. The more I resisted, the more she talked. Finally she asked me to watch an ABC Primetime News report and reluctantly I agreed.
Honestly, I think I would have done ANYTHING at that point to get her to shut up! Little did I know that watching the video would only be the beginning of what seemed to be an endless, mind-numbing and frustrating conversation about the topic.
The ABC report introduced me to scientific terms and people (apparently “world renowned” scientists) that I had never heard before. The whole thing seemed fishy and I certainly wasn’t going to “buy” into it! No way, I am too smart for that! So when my friend called me back and asked me what I thought, I went off on her! I questioned the validity of the science they spoke of, the scientists interviewed, the product they introduced and the credibility and motivation of ABC news. I made statements of ignorance from a place of self-protection. I specifically remember stating that places like www.pubmed.gov , a government website housing decades of scientific research, was nothing more than a hoax. I even claimed that ANYONE could buy a .gov domain name. I told her that scientific terms like “oxidative stress” and “SOD” didn’t exist and that the “world renowned” scientist in the ABC report was nothing more than a company paid spokesperson in a white coat. I made all of these statements without any research, personal experience or knowledge of the topic. To put it in God’s words, I was a fool.
As I write this, I wonder how many other times in my life, whether from a place of arrogance or self protection, I have made similar mistakes. I wonder how many times I have spoken foolishly while the other person, knowing that I am a fool, simply smiled and went on their merry way.
In Proverbs 16:16 God says that we should choose understanding rather than silver. With that in mind, consider today’s verse. Proverbs 18:2 “fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions”. God is making it very clear that UNDERSTANDING is one of the keys to living a successful and fulfilled life and that we SHOULD find pleasure in understanding each other!
Consider this, what if the next time we disagree or are angry with a friend or loved one, before reacting (did you know that behavioral experts consider reacting to be an immature response?) we sought understanding. What if we asked questions and viewed the situation from other perspectives? What if we collected all this data first and responded second? (a response is a mature, well thought out behavior based off facts and the perspectives of other people involved)
If we did this, we would no longer be a fool! (somehow I think this is going to be easier said, than done)
Have a great day!
PS- 7 years later it turns out that I was wrong and my friend was right. Her love for me and her intense, yet very annoying inability to give up, has changed and blessed my life in many, many ways. I will forever be grateful! Lesson learned. (sort of) 🙂