The Bible gives us a clear picture of foolish behavior and its consequences. It’s important for us to recognize these traits in others—and in ourselves. Dealing appropriately with people who behave foolishly requires prayer and wisdom. But remember, that foolish person is not in your life by accident, and you can by God’s grace respond to him or her in a Christ-like manner.
Characteristics of Foolish Behavior
1. Denying, disregarding, or rebelling against God.
The fool says in his heart “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).
2. Slandering, lying, deceiving
The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool
3. Quick-Tempered A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult (Proverbs 12:16).
4. Acts Impetuously and Without Regard for Consequences
In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly. (Proverbs 13:16).
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.
5. Talks endlessly, brags, spouts off frequently.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion
The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near. (Proverbs 10:14).
A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. (Proverbs 18:7 ).
6. Refuses Advice, Accountability and/or Discipline
A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent
A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool
7. Handles Money Recklessly
Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?
In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all
he has (Proverbs 21:20).
8. Quarrels frequently, picks fights, is contentious
Fools get into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating (Proverbs 18:6 NLT).
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control
9. Lazy, Lacks Focus and Ambition
Foolish people refuse to work and almost starve (Ecclesiastes 4:5).
A wise person thinks much about death, while the fool thinks only about having a good time now
(Ecclesiastes 7:4 ).
Fools are so exhausted by a little work that they have no strength for even the simplest tasks
(Ecclesiastes 10:15 ).
10. Never Learns from Past Experience
As a do returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly (Proverbs 26:11).
You cannot separate fools from their foolishness, even though you grind them like grain with
mortar and pestle (Proverbs 27:22 ).
How are we to respond to foolish behavior?
1. First and most importantly, we pray for them.
2. Second, watch your attitude and motivation toward these foolish people:
Principle #1 – Don’t be surprised if they refuse good advice.
Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice
(Proverbs 23:9 ).
Principle #2 – Don’t give them honor or luxury.
It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury – how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!
Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool (Proverbs 26:1).
Principle #3 – Don’t argue with foolish people.
Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce
quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to
teach, not resentful (2 Tim. 2:23-24).
Principle #4 – Protect yourself from the resentment and anger caused by foolish people.
A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is heavier than both
(Proverbs 27:3 ).
Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips (Proverbs 14:7).