Leave the presence of a fool,
for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
We can save ourselves much frustration if we would heed this proverb. There are times in which, literally, we need to walk out of a room in which foolishness is spoken. There are many times in which we ought not to answer foolish words, be they spoken or written. With the advent of email, and the ability to forward email to masses, and the proliferation of websites, blogsites, electronic bulletin boards, and chat-rooms, there are many more avenues for foolishness to take.
Taking time to answer foolish words create frustration in you because you spend time, effort, and emotional energy all for no avail. A fool is not after knowledge; his goal is to make a sensation; it is to gain attention; to respond to him merely plays into his intention. Other fools are not so much after attention, as they are merely taking in what they want to hear and then passing it on. You may be able to bother them with your responses, but you cannot win them over. Again, you are the one feeling the frustration. Even Jesus said not to cast pearls before swine.
What then can you do in response to foolish words? First, do not respond; two, do not pass the words on; three, if in the presence of a fool, either ignore his words or leave; four, do not let his words get “under your skin”; at least, do not show that they do. The fool wants either to win your admiration or your ire. He wants to know that he has impacted you. Leave the room; delete the email; hang up the phone.
And turn to wisdom. Turn to the words of Scripture. Pray and think about whatever is good (Philippians 4:8).
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org