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Hope for Fools

1 Apr

Every had one of these April Fool’s Day pranks pulled on you?

  • Put bubble wrap under a toilet seat so when the victim sits, they are surprised by a loud “pop!”
  • Find an old bottle of nail polish. Unscrew the cap and set it sideways on waxed paper. Let the contents flow out into a puddle. When it’s completely dry, peel off the paper and put it on a friend’s important document.
  • Tape magnets to the bottom of an empty coffee cup. Attach to the top of your car and laugh as people frantically try to get your attention as you drive by.

April Fool’s Day pranks are fun, as long as no one gets hurt. But there’s nothing funny about a real fool.

An old Irish Proverb says, “Don’t give cherries to pigs or advice to fools.” It sounds like a scripture: “Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words” (Proverbs 23:9).

The Bible has so much to say about fools. Among other things, fools despise wisdom (Proverbs 1:7), “feed on folly” (Proverbs 15:14), are reckless and careless (Proverbs 14:16), speak all their mind in anger (Proverbs 29:11), are quarrelsome (Proverbs 20:3), spout folly and speak before they understand (Proverbs 15:2; 18:2), believe everything instead of practicing discernment (Proverbs 14:15), babble on and trust only in their own thoughts and opinions (Proverbs 10:8; 28:26).

Fools mock the reality of God (Psalm 14:1), despise authority and grieve their parents (Proverbs 15:20). They build on “sand” (Matthew 7:26), waste resources and fail to prepare for the future (Proverbs 21:20; Luke 12:16-20), lack sense and delight in foolish behavior (Proverbs 15:21), flaunt their foolishness (Proverbs 13:16), and ultimately, inherit disgrace (Proverbs 3:35). To their shame, they don’t realize how deceived they are (Proverbs 14:7-9).

That sounds like a fool is hopeless, doesn’t it?

It’s just not so.

Lots of "Baggage"

I tease my husband Bob and call him my “April Fool,” because we met on April Fool’s Day in 1972. It wasn’t fair, because I was fooling him about who I was. I seemed to be a godly Christian girl with her act together, but inside I was a pile of messy mush ~ an emotional and spiritual wreck. I carried a lot of foolish baggage into our marriage.

But as I reflected on this, years later, I came to think that maybe it wasn’t all my fault. Henry Louis Mencken once said, “A man always blames the women who fools him. In the same way, he blames the door he walks into into the dark.” (LOL!) Smitten with love, my husband failed to see the real me. It’s a common problem with those who are “in love.” Maybe we should have taken more time to get to know each other before we slid those rings on eager fingers.

But God had a beautiful plan in mind. He used Bob to help shape my life.

An unknown author wrote, “Real friends are those who, when you feel you’ve made a fool of yourself, don’t feel you’ve done a permanent job.” My husband is my best friend (besides Jesus), and he has cheered me on for all of our married life, feeling I had some potential for wise choices, and guiding me gently to live in the truth of the Word of God. I like to think that God has honored Bob’s sensitivity, positivity, and faith.

The truth is, in God’s eyes, there is always hope for a fool ~ if the fool turns to Him for refuge and wisdom.

The Prodigal Son of Luke 15:11-32 was certainly foolish.

But this rebellious fool came to his senses and realized what he was missing. He remembered his father’s love and returned, repentant, hoping for even a bit of grace. And he got more than he hoped for. The father welcomed him and lavished love upon him.

Do you have a fool in your family? Among your friends? Don’t give up hope. God can use the simplest things to turn a fool around. He used pigs in a pigsty to wake up a rebellious, foolish son.

Your part?

Pray for fools. Pray for their companions (Proverbs 13:20). Love them. And as they open to your love, offer snippets of biblical wisdom (even if you don’t quote chapter and verse). It is the Word of God that will pierce the heart and conscience (Hebrews 4:12), and the love of God that draws the heart of a fool to fear Him ~ to respect and honor Him, leading to obedience ~ (Romans 5:6-9). When a person “fears” God, this is the beginning of wisdom and much-needed insight (Proverbs 9:10).

The wonderful truth is, God loves to turn the heart of a fool to wisdom.

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