The world is filled with difficult people. It is impossible to avoid them. You try everything – confrontation, or compromise, or being passive, or even straight ignoring it. Too often these people drag you into their issues and your best attempts at making peace fail. You want to handle your relationships in a way that honors God and preserves your sanity – but is it even possible?
Difficult people in our lives are often who the Bible refers to as "fools." Dealing with fools requires a special kind of wisdom. Insights from the biblical book of Proverbs will help us with the foolish people in your life—even that fool is you.
How can you recognize a fool? Proverbs details at least a dozen characteristics that describe a fool. When you learn to recognize them, you can learn what to do. But your goal cannot be to change your fool; your goal must be personal freedom to be the person God intends, no matter what choices your fool makes.
At its core, foolish thinking is always selfish.
A fool is always “right.”
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
A fool puts unqualified confidence in himself.
Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.
A fool is deceitful.
The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves.
A fool is self-satisfied.
For simpletons turn away from wisdom—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.
A fool protects his own interest at all costs.
The wise are cautious[a] and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.
A fool is his own judge and jury, and sees no reason to repent or make amends.
Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.
A fool is angry.
Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.
If a wise person takes a fool to court, there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction.
A fool creates chaos and strife.
Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating.
The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.
A fool destroys.
Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.
A fool spreads slander.
Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool.
A fool is exhausting.
A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier.
A fool enjoys his foolishness.
Doing wrong is fun for a fool, but living wisely brings pleasure to the sensible.
Where’s The Hope?
Go to God for wisdom.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
Determine that your fool is God’s to deal with.
“There are two kinds of people; those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’”
Concentrate on what YOU can do.
Seek the Lord with your whole heart.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.